The hero of your story, a lot like you…only not

Child pretending to be a superheroYou are emotionally involved in your mission. It’s a big part of why you do what you do, right? And as much as that personal connection to mission is a motivating force, it can also work to your disadvantage. Because the people on the receiving end of your communications? They aren’t as invested in your mission. They don’t live it and breathe it every day. It’s your job to get them there.  Caring begins with feeling. Your job, therefore, is to make them FEEL

Consider storytelling an arrow in your quiver, suited for the specific purpose of creating an emotional connection with the people that are important to your mission. And the protagonist is the arrowhead, helping you land that message right in the heart of your donors, board member and volunteers. (Hey. It’s just a metaphorical arrow, so no killing is involved.)

Frequently folks embark on an effort to tell a story and what they end up with falls short – sometimes they go overboard with the data or tell the story from end-to-beginning….talk about a spoiler. Over on her Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Katya breaks down the key elements of winning stories: character, desire and conflict. A great first step is to thoroughly develop your protagonist (kind of like a hero, but with a good dose of ordinariness too). Copyblogger has a great piece about effective protagonist development. And if you want to have a little fun with character development, check out what Pemco has done with its “We’re a Lot Like You” series. For those of us living here in the Northwest, it’s nearly impossible to leave that site without a self-identified persona.

And of course, because your story is a pitch, or is leading to one, watch out for those pitchfalls.