StoryBrand for Nonprofits: How to Clarify Your Message and Inspire Action

nonprofit marketing storybrand Mar 03, 2023
Planning out a StoryBrand narrative for a nonprofit

What is StoryBrand?

StoryBrand is a framework designed to help organizations clarify their messaging and communicate effectively with their perfect audience. It was created by Donald Miller, a New York Times bestselling author. Kenny Jahng, founder of Big Click Syndicate has gone through the entire Certification process under Donald Miller in Nashville and has been helping nonprofits implement the framework to create content with purpose and nurture raving fans for the causes each client champions.

The StoryBrand framework helps organizations focus on the audience and their needs, rather than their offerings or services. It allows nonprofits to create a compelling brand story that resonates with their constituents - donors as well as program participants, and helps each nonprofit ministry stand out in a crowded market.

Why is StoryBrand important for nonprofits?

Nonprofits face a unique set of challenges when it comes to messaging. They need to communicate their mission and values in a way that resonates with potential donors and supporters. However, they also need to differentiate themselves from other nonprofits that may be working on similar causes.

The StoryBrand framework can help nonprofits create a clear and compelling message that cuts through the noise and resonates with their target audience. By focusing on the audience's needs and desires, nonprofits can build an emotional connection with potential donors, supporters, and program participants or clients - and inspire them to take action.

How to implement StoryBrand for your nonprofit?

  1. Identify your target audience - Who are the people you want to reach? What are their needs and desires? What problem exists that your nonprofit is set on attacking? What motivates them to take action? There are 3 types of problems in the StoryBrand framework that nonprofits must define and articulate:

    1. External: These are the problems your audience faces on a plain level - poverty, environmental destruction, inadequate healthcare etc.  

    2. Internal: These are the problems that your target audience faces from within. Examples could include fear, guilt, boredom, or loneliness.  

    3. Philosophical: These are deeper questions of purpose and meaning – why do we exist and what are our values? 

  2. Clarify your message - This is where you take the basic SB7 Framework elements and use them in various types of messaging. It gives you ways to identify the problem your nonprofit is solving, the solution you offer, and the transformation experienced - so that you put your audience at the center of the narrative. This story is about their journey to success, not the organizations.

  3. Build a website that converts - Your website is often the first point of contact for potential donors and supporters. Use the StoryBrand framework to create a website that clearly communicates your message and encourages visitors to take action. Most websites are cluttered with non-essential information jammed into the first impression. Clarity is better than comprehensiveness. Part of the strategy should be to define a clear, singular main call to action.  Then devise a secondary call to action for anyone not ready to fully engage immediately.

  4. Use social media to amplify your message - Social media is a powerful tool for nonprofits to reach a wider audience. Use the StoryBrand framework to create social media posts that communicate the value of your work and inspire action. By using every part of the SB7 framework, you can prevent audience fatigue from hearing the same repetitive message over and over and over.

  5. Measure your success - Set clear goals and metrics to measure the success of your StoryBrand implementation. Track your website traffic, social media engagement, and donation conversions to see how your messaging resonates with your target audience. Usually our team starts with the final objectives first, and then work backwards to determine what user journey we need to architect with content marketing so that the nonprofit using StoryBrand can succeed at creating raving fans for their mission.

 How does StoryBrand copywriting differ between Nonprofit and Business marketing applications? 

At the core, StoryBrand is a tool to craft an effective story with user-driven content that resonates with your target audience. For Nonprofits, it’s important to focus on how your mission will impact the lives of the people you are trying to serve. This means communicating in terms of how much impact happens or how the nonpfoti's resources help people, so that a supporter can see when they give, or how much better their life will be when they partner with you to support the mission. 

This approach is a bit different from businesses using StoryBrand. For example,  businesses need to focus on the customer experience and how their product or service can provide a solution to an existing problem they themselves face. The goal is to tap into a customer’s emotional state, so that they feel connected and compelled to purchase what the company has to offer. 

At the same time, non-profits should emphasize their mission in storytelling and content marketing. How do you make more people understand your message? Showcase how partnering with your nonprofit will help to accomplish a greater goal.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the StoryBrand framework is a powerful tool for nonprofits to create a clear and compelling message that resonates with their target audience. By focusing on the audience needs and desires, nonprofits can build an emotional connection with potential donors and supporters, and inspire them to take action.

Implementing the StoryBrand framework requires a strategic approach, but the results are well worth the effort. By clarifying your message and building a website and social media presence that communicates effectively with your target audience, you can increase your reach and impact as a nonprofit.

We'd love to share our approach to content strategy as well as our A.R.T. of Engagement Framework for creating content with purpose. Let us help take the guesswork out of marketing so you can connect with the right audiences.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

More articles

Top 15 FAQ's: StoryBrand for Nonprofit Ministries

Mar 13, 2024