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The Power of Nonprofit Storytelling

Posted By Bobby Rettew, Monday, January 30, 2017

A few years ago, I was working with a large health care system in the early stages of developing a content strategy. The initial meetings with the organization outlined the need to find content creators inside the organization, specifically to help the marketing/communications team find rich stories to share. I visited one of their hospitals in Georgia during the on-boarding process with the goal to find storytellers inside a clinical setting.

As I walked through the halls, I met some amazing people. From physicians, nurses, patients, and staff; all had powerful stories to tell. But the one person that stood out the most was this one person in a patient room. As I walked in to visit with the patient, I heard a larger conversation taking place. The lady cleaning the room was having a wonderful conversation with the patient. She was a talker; sharing, laughing, listening, and engaging with the patient. 

I walked out of the patient room, looked at the division president and said she needs to be on the list as content creators. He looked at me like I was speaking three languages at one time. His follow-up response was the hospital needed to focus solely on physician content creators. I somewhat agreed with his assessment, but said that it does not take a medical degree to tell rich stories from inside the organization, it takes passion, commitment, and execution. 

It starts with learning to listen. No hear, but listen. There are people across the organization that are powerful storytellers, content creators, graphic designers, writers, people who have a passion to share. Nonprofits experience the need to leverage internal human capital because the financial resources sometimes do not support a robust marketing/communications staff. 

Even if you have a grasp on capturing great content from within the organization, sometimes it is even harder to operationalize how to share content within the framework of the nonprofits growth goals. Specifically, what do we do with all this great stuff and how do we measure success?

During my webinar on Feb. 8, we are going to discuss the following:

  • Culture of Listening
  • Culture of Sharing
  • Culture of Integration
  • Culture of Measurement

We are going to think through how nonprofits can find the storytellers, capture their stories in bite size chunks, create a robust content calendar, and how to leverage digital platforms within an integrated media mindset. I will share examples of what we have learned over the past ten years, with a few case studies laying the foundation for strategic goal setting. 

About the Author:

Bobby Rettew is a multiple Emmy award-winning multimedia producer known for his creative talents, interpersonal communication skills, and new media experience. His background includes corporate marketing communications, PR, social media, new media, television news and expertise in producing compelling visual stories on all digital platforms.

Bobby works with hospitals, higher education institutions, healthcare advocacy groups and small businesses to identify compelling messages and communicate these messages at the right place and the right time.

Bobby is an Adjunct Instructor at the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Clemson University where he teaches Hybrid Entrepreneurship. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in the Advanced Writing Program at Clemson.

Bobby has been trained by the Poynter Institute in Storytelling and Visual Communication and by the National Press Photographers Association in Visual Storytelling. He has also been awarded the International Best of Show for Online Communication by the Society of Technical Communication.


Tags:  Giving Day  Nonprofit Storytelling 

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