- The Punch Up
- 👊🏾⬆️ Mastering the Art of the Pitch, news, and books to help you tell stories
👊🏾⬆️ Mastering the Art of the Pitch, news, and books to help you tell stories
Four stories to master, Harvard's new Divinity Dean, and more...
In this email…
Update - What’s Next for The Punch Up
Four stories you should master for your pitch
News - Harvard diversifies with a new Divinity dean; Gender justice funders get into policy; Gig work is terrible and needs to get better
After a few weeks of soul-searching, I realized that while tips and tricks are cool. But, I want this newsletter to offer something interesting to curious minds.
The Punch Up will cut the jobs section and continue with the news and leadership resources. The focus of the newsletter will be case studies and stories of social impact leaders who have created something new and compelling. The hope is that seeing some of these leaders, who have “punched up” will inspire us all to keep our dreams big and minds open.
Storytelling is a potent tool in the nonprofit sector, just as it is in the world of startups and business. A well-crafted narrative can engage donors, volunteers, and stakeholders, making them feel connected to your organization's mission and impact. In their book "Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of Your Dreams," Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis provide valuable insights into creating compelling stories. I recommend this book to everyone I know who wants to raise money. It’s one of the only fundraising books you’ll need.
Alright, let’s jump into how nonprofits can harness the power of storytelling by summarizing and providing examples of four crucial story types: The Origin Story, Customer Story, Industry Story, and Venture Growth Story.
The Origin Story
The Origin Story for nonprofits delves into why your organization exists and the inspiration behind your mission. It's a personal account that lets you connect emotionally with your audience, showing them your passion and commitment to a cause.
Crafting an effective Origin Story requires being vulnerable and authentic. Share intimate details about the experiences, conversations, or “a-ha moments” that motivated you to launch your nonprofit. Let the audience into your personal journey. Help them understand the fire that burns within you for this cause and why it matters so deeply.
Example: Teach For America
Wendy Kopp founded Teach For America in 1989. She was inspired by her senior thesis, in which she proposed a "national teaching corps" to address educational inequities. Kopp's Origin Story revolves around her desire to ensure that all children have access to quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. This narrative resonates with donors and supporters who share her passion for educational equity.
In the nonprofit sector, the Customer Story is about showcasing the real impact your organization has had on the lives of those you serve. It's a way to illustrate how your programs or services make a tangible difference in the community.
Powerful Customer Stories should capture both the challenges faced pre-intervention and the transformation your nonprofit facilitated. Let the person’s voice shine through with stirring details about their lived experience. Supplement their narrative with data that quantifies the change. This blended approach appeals to both heart and mind.
Example: Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity often shares stories of families who have benefited from their affordable housing programs. These stories highlight how Habitat's work has transformed the lives of families previously struggling with substandard housing conditions. By sharing the Customer Story, Habitat for Humanity demonstrates the positive change it brings to communities and motivates donors to support their mission.
The Industry Story
The Industry Story for nonprofits is about positioning your organization within a broader context. It shows donors that you understand the social or environmental issues you're addressing and that your nonprofit plays a vital role in addressing them.
When crafting your Industry Story, leverage statistics and facts to convey the scale and gravity of the problem. Use storytelling elements like scene-setting to immerse donors in the issue’s human impact. Outline the gap your nonprofit fills through programs and services. Demonstrate thought leadership in the space. This establishes your nonprofit as an authority best equipped to drive change.
Example: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
WWF excels at telling the Industry Story. They emphasize the urgency of global environmental challenges such as habitat loss and climate change. WWF positions itself as a leader in the conservation industry, emphasizing its work to protect endangered species and preserve critical ecosystems. By painting a comprehensive picture of the environmental challenges we face, WWF inspires donors to support their efforts to protect the planet.
The Nonprofit Growth Story
The Nonprofit Growth Story outlines your organization's journey and future potential. It's an opportunity to present your growth trajectory, program expansion, and the impact you aim to achieve. Donors want to know how their contributions will make a difference and how your nonprofit plans to grow its impact.
Share key milestones that mark your nonprofit’s progression. Use analogies and metaphors to vividly render your vision for future growth. Let donors imagine all the lives touched, communities strengthened, and change catalyzed when your mission is achieved. This aspirational narrative gets supporters excited to fuel your nonprofit’s continued evolution.
Example: Charity: Water
Charity: Water's Founder, Scott Harrison, often shares the Nonprofit Growth Story to engage donors. He highlights the organization's remarkable journey from humble beginnings to a global force in providing clean water to communities in need. Harrison outlines ambitious plans for future expansion and the number of lives they aim to impact. By presenting a compelling vision of their growth, Charity: Water attracts supporters who want to be part of their journey to end the global water crisis.
In the nonprofit sector, storytelling is a powerful tool for engaging donors, volunteers, and stakeholders. Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis's "Get Backed" provides valuable insights into crafting four essential types of stories: The Origin Story, Customer Story, Industry Story, and Nonprofit Growth Story. These narratives can help nonprofits connect with their audience, showcase their impact, position themselves as industry leaders, and outline their path to achieving their mission. By mastering these storytelling techniques, nonprofits can secure the support and resources needed to make a lasting difference in their communities and the world. Start crafting your nonprofit stories today and inspire others to join your mission.
To help you tell better stories. (Links to Powell’s Books)
Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of Your Dreams by Evan Baehr & Evan Loomis (Amazon link, 😔 )
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
Made to Stick Why Some Ideas Survive & Others Die by Chip & Dan Heath
Building a StoryBrand Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
In the News…
Harvard Divinity School selects first woman as dean in 207-year history, Harvard Divinity School appointed its first African American dean, scholar Marla Frederick, who aims to diversify the school and emphasize faith's role in addressing issues like racism, marking an important, perspective-broadening shift for the school. 👏 👏 👏
How gender justice funders are taking historic action on policy, Philanthropy News Digest. — Major gender justice funders are taking historic, collaborative action through policy-focused grantmaking to protect abortion access and reproductive rights in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
We need to make gig work better. Here’s what it would take, Fast Company. — The article explores how the gig economy exploits workers through independent contractor loopholes and proposes various reforms like unionization, laws establishing worker protections, platform cooperatives, and ethical practices embraced by companies to make gig work more equitable and sustainable.