Not-For-Profits Can Focus On Their Partners To Succeed Using Storytelling

not for profits can focus on their partners to succeed using storytelling

When Carolee Tremain told me she wasn’t comfortable “beating her chest,” I said: “Good!”

Carolee is the Founder and President of Maker Navigator. She’s driven to support organizations that create learning opportunities through maker education. We worked together on other maker space educational initiatives, so when Carolee struck out on her own she turned to me for a little marketing advice.

Carolee is in her element when she’s developing educational programs and building partnerships and identifying funding sources. As it turns out, she doesn’t like being in the spotlight. 

In her mind that was a problem.

She knew she had to get her message out. If she was going to build an organization that created impact, she had to tell her story. She didn’t know how to do that without becoming the center of attention.

I explained the Hero’s Journey story structure to Carolee. The relationship to mythology resonated with her. 

I told her the same thing I tell many of my clients: If you want your stories to resonate with your audience,

You can't be the hero of your own story!

That put Carolee at ease; it’s exactly the advice she needed.

Later, Carolee described an event she’d be hosting. She had a team of volunteers working with her to prepare materials for a host of Indianapolis-based not-for-profits.

What an opportunity! She worried about how to write content for her website. She wasn’t sure what to tweet or what to post on Instagram. She didn’t want to sound like she was bragging. 

Carolee didn’t realize she was preparing to host an event that could provide a lifetime of content.

What many not-for-profits suffer for lack of resources, they more than make up for through their mission-driven passion, partnerships … and stories.

Many not-for-profits are succeeding using Storytelling. So how are they doing it? Let’s look at the example of Charity Water

Like Carolee, they prefer not to beat their chests. Instead, Charity Water focuses their Storytelling efforts on the work of their partners. They write and photograph and produce video to highlight the successes of the organizations they work with around the world.

With her upcoming event, Carolee has the same opportunity. Instead of focusing on herself, she can tell the stories of the organizations she’s working with and working for; the organizations that succeed because of her support.

Carolee has a real opportunity to connect the dots and build community and engagement around the impact of her organization … by focusing on everyone other than herself.

Question: Who's the Hero of your stories?

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