Guest Contributor: Carly Euler, Marketing Manager at MemoryFox
Oftentimes, we think of nonprofit storytelling as capturing the experiences of those benefiting from the nonprofit’s programs, and using those testimonials to raise funds. While it's indisputable that these stories serve as a compelling means to humanize your nonprofit’s mission, they may not fully encapsulate the remarkable impact your organization is making.
Today, I challenge you to think outside of the traditional nonprofit storytelling box, and explore how volunteer stories can benefit your nonprofit. Volunteer narratives offer a diverse array of perspectives, enabling them to resonate with various segments of your audience. Let’s explore the four types of volunteer stories you can gather at your nonprofit to inspire, recruit and retain great volunteers.
4 Types of Volunteer Stories
- Stories of Personal Transformation: How has volunteering changed the perspective, skills, or outlook of your volunteer? Whether driven by a life-changing moment that inspired them to volunteer, or the heartwarming impacts they witnessed during their service, personal transformation stories provide the poignant and uplifting moments that audiences crave.
- Impact Narratives: Uncover the significance of your volunteers' tasks and why they matter. While some volunteer activities, like planting trees, showcase a direct impact, others, though essential, may operate behind-the-scenes. This array of stories highlights the tangible effects of volunteer work on the overall success of the nonprofit.
- Before-and-After Accounts: Do your volunteer projects have a clear before-and-after? Illuminate your stark results by drawing inspiration from the time-tested infomercial before-and-after tactic. These stories offer visually compelling narratives of overcoming obstacles and achieving collective success—whether it's stacking boxes at a food pantry, constructing a home, or, in my case, soaping and rinsing one of our nation’s most visited national monuments.
- Stories of Connection: Volunteers are 67% more likely to become donors than the general population. Why? Because of the connection they feel after dedicating their time and effort to your organization. Explore narratives that demonstrate the relationships built between your volunteers and your program beneficiaries, special event attendees, and your staff members. Have unexpected friendships bloomed? Tell us about it!
While every type of volunteer story won’t work for every nonprofit, I hope this list serves to spark ideas for you! So, what are you waiting for? Start collecting great volunteer stories now and see your impact soar. Gathering and sharing stories is easier than you might think, especially with the help of technology tools, like MemoryFox, that help you collect content directly from your community.
Author Bio: Carly comes from the nonprofit world ready to elevate the hundreds of nonprofits in the MemoryFox community. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Wily Network’s Young Professionals Association, and has previously held positions at the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, the Code of Support Foundation, Kenya Lacrosse Association, and the BOMA Project, where she has specialized in marketing, communications, and fundraising. Storytelling has been an integral part of each role.