Doing Good and Telling Good

By Katie Reynolds

Non-profits are created to do good–to leave the world in a better state than they entered it. Not to say that this task is easy or natural. There are inevitable trials and unexpected roadblocks along the way–how are you telling your followers about them?

An article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy recognizes the overwhelming tendency of Journalists to report the “disasters, fires, accidents, rapes, robberies, bombings and bad people wanting to do bad things to you” that is the news.

Is it not obvious? Turn on the TV for two minutes, skim the front page of The New York Times, scan over to NPR–you could almost expect to walk away feeling stressed out and cynical about the world we live in.

What does this mean for your non-profit?

In the plight of sensory sadness overload, it is intuitive for non-profits to serve as a place of hope that there is yet good in the world. It is important that we tell our stories, and tell them well.

Some practical ways to start doing good and telling good:

  1. Be Aware of the Happenings within your Organization
    If you don’t keep track of the efforts for success, how will you know what the payoff of that effort is?
  2. Take Interest in People
    When fishing for a good story, look at hearts and not statistics or events.
  3. Tell Stories that Point a Way Forward
    Tell of progress, not just static situations. Give people solutions, not problems.
  4. Show Pictures that Capture Emotion
    A visual dimension of joy and progress will only add to your story.

At the end of the day good storytelling will keep your followers interested, affirm them that in the broken world their support is bringing hope, and leave them with excitement and peace in thought of the future.

Katie Reynolds is a Junior at the University of Iowa studying a major in Journalism and Mass Communications and a certificate in Entrepreneurial Arts Management, as well as a minor in International Studies. She works diligently at SCOPE Productions as the Assistant General Manager.

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