The Weekly Nugget

Category: Storytelling (page 1 of 2)

Who have you helped today?

It’s our job to be storytellers of what we do for the world.

Chris Brogan


By Steve Sullivan

You’re trying to change the world but really you’re helping people.

Maybe in the direct sense, but also indirectly. Because what is someone’s motivation to join your cause, donate, or advocate on your behalf?

Although the person may not realize it, there is almost certainly a link to some deeply held value or belief. And so their participation means they are acting on their values and beliefs.

Which is an act of self-realization. Of reaching one’s potential.

Which is a gift you’ve given them by giving them the opportunity. You’re helping enrich their life.

It’s a more productive way to think than always feeling like you’re asking asking asking.

Who have you helped today?


The Psychology of Your Customers
What are the three types of people who visit your website and how can you engage them? A great look at how to get past people’s reason not to donate, join, or participate.


A Scientific Guide to Hashtags


Steve Sullivan is passionate about all things nonprofit and digital and started this blog and email newsletter to share the latest strategies and tactics with other marketing, fundraising, communications and membership professionals.


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You might be too smart. Plus why Periscope matters to your nonprofit.


By Steve Sullivan

Are you too smart for your own good? Sometimes, perhaps.

The trouble with being smart, especially when you are in a leadership position, is your brain tricks you into thinking you know more than you do.

It’s survival. To confidently do good work you have to believe you know what you’re doing, and you have to be right. Of course you are.

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What to do when they don’t believe you

We are divided by those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart.

— Stephen Colbert


By Steve Sullivan

Is your mission controversial? (And what isn’t today?) Do you have critics who don’t believe what you say even when the facts are on your side?

Guess what? Facts and science just don’t hold the same power they used to. Any halfway believable but utter malarkey can carry as much credibility as utter truth.

Well no wonder. The world today is more confusing and non-intuitive than ever. We no longer worship the sky because we think it’s an angry god to appease, but we are surrounded by science, technology and realities we increasingly don’t understand. It’s natural that we fall back on what seems to make intuitive sense.

Even those dedicated to science and truth fall into this trap. It’s why smart people believe stupid stuff like vaccines causing autism and global warming being a myth, no matter what reality is.

A key factor is identity. We don’t realize it, but we have stronger ties to what “people like us” believe than to scientific proof. We want to belong. So if the group we identify with most strongly thinks one way, we are likely to as well, while seeing anything contradictory to our view as being simply wrong.

After all, isn’t belonging one of our most powerful motivators?

So what can you do? Start by building a tribe, not just an audience. Your communications should radiate from your core values and beliefs to attract “people like us” who fiercely agree. It’s what makes what you say authentic and truthful. Talk about you the supporter (the hero of the story) instead of we the organization.
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While you were sleeping


Oh Facebook, at it again. Tweaking the newsfeed to push posts from friends you interact with over posts from pages. Pushing posts from websites that more regularly publish content that gets interacted with (blogs, typically).

See a trend? Yes, our reach rates will take a hit again, but that’s a good thing. Because it means if you’re really engaging your supporters on Facebook — and for goodness sake if you’re not why are you bothering? — then you’ve an even better chance of being seen.

It’s all about quality, these days. And quality means interacting with your audience, not just talking at them. Isn’t that the whole point of social media anyway?


Nine Attitudes that can Hold Writers Back
Is the way you think of writing making you less effective?
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Here is some great stuff to steal

Honor those that came before and use their work as a building block for yours.

— Seth Godin


Do you steal? I do. Every day. Not being that creative, I always look around for great ideas to steal from others. It saves so much time to borrow from what works, modify it and get even better results.

We’re in the business of changing the world, right? Results matter.

There is danger: beware of driving straight to average if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. That’s why it’s so important to make it uniquely yours, to take a risk and build upon what others have done and push it to new heights.

What ideas have you stolen? Leave a comment below and let me know.


Steal, Don’t Invent
I didn’t steal this idea from Seth but I knew he’d have something pithy and worth reading to say about it.
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What’s being said about you?

It’s funny that so few nonprofits take a moment to step back and consider how they want to be viewed by their target audiences and supporters.

— Colleen Dilenschneider


Story is a critical to nonprofit success, and to our digital strategies. Not only in the storytelling sense, but in what we tell ourselves, each other and outsiders. These stories originate with our deepest held beliefs. But not really understanding what you’re saying purposefully or inadvertently can lead to failure without your ever understanding why.

A powerful creation myth or motivating story can make all the difference to rallying staff and supporters, but a few people’s values and actions can form a unspoken story that can undo that same energy internally. And of course, what people believe your story to be is your reputation and largely determines their interactions with you.

It’s worth taking a moment to really dive into the spoken and unspoken stories you tell yourself and that your nonprofit tells the world. Are you telling the right story?


How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Apple does not use social media. That fact blows me away. But the powerful story that Apple employees from top to bottom believe and live out radiates to everything they do. It then inspires their customers and has turned them into the biggest brand in the world. How can we take advantage of that tactic too?
You may have seen this before, but it could be the most powerful tool you have to be heard and is worth watching again. Get this right and you’re way ahead.
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What to do when it all goes wrong


I’m saddened when great nonprofits make catastrophic mistakes because they don’t realize that the world around them has fundamentally shifted. Suddenly there is a crisis and everyone is doing damage control.

So often we don’t understand that trying to be an institutional source of truth today is doomed. No one blindly trusts institutions anymore. And everyone’s opinion can be fact. A startling study recently looked at online information about vaccination and found that facts from a credible institution carried the same weight with people as anonymous internet comments.


How can nonprofits avoid a communications crisis? Here are three thoughts that also work as rescue remedies.
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3 ways to captivate your readers

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.



Every week, when I sit down to write this blog I know I’ve waited too long to get started and I’m not quite sure yet what I want to say. But that’s what works to get my creativity flowing.

All week long I’ve been searching for the best content to share. My mission is to help you do your job better, to help make the world a little better place.

Along the way, I’m trying to learn and understand the best strategies and tactics so I can incorporate them and reach more people. If only I can figure it all out then I can help others too.
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Details, details, details. Are you mastering them?

The devil is in the details, but so is salvation.

Hyman G. Rickover


Details matter. While strategies and plans are critical for the focus needed to achieve success, it’s the details of implementation that often make or break the outcome.

Details can mislead, however. If you don’t understand which details matter, and which don’t, your work will never reach its potential. For nonprofits, it’s always about maximum effectiveness. You’re always short of everything you need, right?

It’s critical to become an expert on the details that get you closest toward the goal of your strategy, so you’re always spending time only on work that works best. That means making hard choices about how you spend your time. And that’s often the hardest detail of all.
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Building trust for your nonprofit brand

The digital asset that matters is trust. Awareness first, then interaction, and maybe a habit, but all three mean nothing if they don’t lead to permission and trust. The privilege of connection.

Seth Godin


How do you inspire trust? Trust is a critical step in building a tribe of fans, supporters and advocates. Not just what you say, but how you say it and if what you do matches what you say.

Your nonprofit’s reputation is critical to your success and is built on a foundation of trust. Often, your nonprofit’s reputation is all you have, since so much of your work takes place out of sight and you can only tell stories about it.

That’s why it’s important to regularly take a measured, deliberate and close look at your reputation: how your audience perceives you, rather than what your organization is saying about itself.

But how often does this happen? Or does that work get lost amid the day-to-day work of what we want to say instead of what they’re hearing?
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