Storytelling is central to a nonprofit’s fundraising and marketing strategy. Stories help you introduce your mission, demonstrate the impact of your programming, familiarize donors and supporters with the people they are helping and mobilize people to take action. However, just telling stories without a plan isn’t going to move the needle.

I recently recorded a series of videos for AFP’s Microlearning Series. The series was titled: The W’s of a Digital Storytelling Strategy. The goal of the series is to present you with the questions you need to be asking internally before you start posting and engaging. For the next 5 weeks I’m going to publish a new video from the series.

You can view the previous one: The Who of Nonprofit Digital Storytelling.

The What

There are three questions related to “the what” of your nonprofit storytelling strategy. You can watch the video below or read the transcript just below it.

The What Of Digital Storytelling

I’m Ephraim Gopin of 1832 Communications and today I’m continuing my series on the W’s of Digital Storytelling for AFP’s Microlearning Moments. In our last episode we discussed the who. Today we’re going to discuss the what and there are three what’s you should be looking at.

What Are Your Guidelines

The first one is: What are your guidelines? Your organization should have an overall content strategy and a digital marketing strategy that is also of course tied into your fundraising strategy and you need to know the guidelines for storytelling. For example, can you use the names of your beneficiaries or your  service recipients in your stories or do you need to make up a name? Are you allowed to post stories that relate to politics or is that a topic that’s considered too controversial? Same could be with religion. So the first thing to know is what are the guidelines for what stories you’re allowed to post and what you shouldn’t be posting about. 
What Are The Goals Of Posting A Story
The second thing to discuss is what are the goals of posting a story? Every story should have a goal which includes one CTA, one call to action. That call to action could be to donate, to volunteer, to advocate on behalf of the organization, sign a petition or call people. Whatever it is, it must include a CTA to get people to do actions. However there’s one type of story you could have which doesn’t necessarily have to have a call to action and that could be a thank you letter, where you tell a donor here’s how your donation has helped service recipient X. It’s a one-to-one story that might not have a call to action but it’s still great use of storytelling to say thank you to donors.
What Content To Post
Then the third thing, the third what is what content to post? Are you posting long form stories, short emails or short tweets? Is it a video? Is it audio? Is it GIFs? Is it an image? You have lots of different types of content to choose from. Your stories don’t always have to be written out. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is for sure worth a thousand words. So you need to know when you’re discussing your digital storytelling strategy: what are the guidelines, what are the goals and what content to post. Have a great day.


Year-end fundraising campaign time approaches. Is your website content prepared? Email marketing strategy ready to be implemented? Social media posts planned out? If your nonprofit wants to strengthen relationships with donors and raise more money, then your website, email and social media need to be in sync and ready to go when your campaign commences. 

Not sure how to pull it all together? Contact me and let’s plan a successful year-end campaign together!