How to be a nonprofit role model

As See3 works with organizations to improve their storytelling, a powerful, important principle often comes into the conversation:

Model the behavior you want to see.

If you tell me a story about your nonprofit and the great work it does, that's nice...but it’s unlikely to activate me to action. If, instead, you show someone like me that got involved in your organization’s mission and made an amazing difference, then I am more likely to engage. I am more likely to say, "I can do that" or, "I want to be like that."

This mix of real people and real stories with aspirational action is key to powerful storytelling. Find those real life donors, advocates and activists who went on their own Hero's Journey. They started as ordinary and then learned that the world was broken. They needed to do something about it, and your org showed them the way. Through your organization’s mentorship, they found their voice and power -- and look at the amazing impact.

Make-A-Wish shared the story of a social worker, to encourage others like her to refer children for wishes. Hillel International's Immersive Israel Experiences team frequently shares user-generated content on their Instagram account from participants who had a life-changing experience on one of their Birthright Israel trips. In the aftermath of Charlottesville, a rabbi shared his experience in order to connect with and rally the community, amplified through the Union for Reform Judaism's blog.  

Whatever your issue area, we all have these stories to tell. Step back, pass the mic, and listen. Amplify the story and you'll amplify the impact.

Author: Michael Hoffman
  • Hillel International
  • Charlottesville
  • Make-A-Wish
  • Storytelling
Sep 25
by Michael Hoffman
Sep 18
by Michael Hoffman