3 Inspiring Nonprofits Who Really Get Storytelling

Written by:

Jesse Lane, Goodmaker & Founder

Branches Mission Lab

I love great brands like Disney, Nike, and Apple.

Every time you interact with the brand, it feels like that specific brand. It looks like them. Sounds like them. When I leave an experience with these brands, I have a certain memory. I just feel like I had a remarkable experience.

You can do that with your brand too.

Where can we start?

I think it’s always best to spark your creativity through the power of story. So here is one of my favorite videos by Nike that I think will help set the tone for you.

That video is so simple and yet so powerful. It’s a great example of how a brand can create an experience for the customer. Let’s make that the end goal.

Where should you begin to achieve our goal?

Start at the heart.

But what does that mean? Everything you do as a brand stems from the heart, your identity as an organization.

When I meet with clients, I often break out this pillow with arms coming out of it. Yes, I know it’s cheesy. But it is very memorable and gets the point across.

Everything your brand does starts right there. You can’t skip over the power of heart. And stories are the best communication tool out there that connects the heart to others.

That’s why I shared the Nike video above. It is inspiring to me.

Branding doesn’t have to be complicated.

The good news is that you can recreate this customer experience on a budget. You can do that even as a nonprofit. And, you know, it’s pretty remarkable how simple it can be.

So what about the nonprofit space?

Let’s talk about a few nonprofits that have inspired me with their brand.

charity: water is a great example in the nonprofit space.

It’s kind of comical. If you asked one hundred nonprofit leaders who their favorite nonprofit inspiration was, ninety-five of them would probably say charity: water.

So, it’s a little cliche to talk about them, but they deserve to be on this list. They do a fantastic job.

Example #1. charity: water

Here’s a video from their website so you can take a closer look at their brand, their storytelling, their photography and imagery.

See how simple their messaging is? How effective the storytelling is? As I scroll down on their website, you learn even more about the charity: water brand.

Notice the graphics used? How the information is presented?

You, the website visitor, are presented with a chance to impact the lives of millions of people. That’s the story that is being presented to you. What a call to action!

Example #2. Compassion International

Compassion International is another favorite of mine. Their branding is very consistent, and it is clear that they exist to help children in poverty.

Take a look at their website

Compassion actually changed their website’s homepage to reflect the challenges that the world has been facing due to COVID-19. Notice the detailed pop-up box that breaks down everything in a clear, concise way.

In 2012 I went on a Compassion trip to the Dominican Republic where I met a child that I sponsored for 7 years. And one of my favorite parts is that when I went on this trip and interacted with their staff in the field, it was really a reinforcement of the brand and story that I’d been learning about before I took that trip.

When you scroll down, you see more powerful images and great copywriting. Notice the use of white space here too.

Example #3. International Justice Mission

Lastly, let’s take a quick look at IJM or International Justice Mission. Here’s a look at their current homepage, which has been updated for COVID-19.

Notice the call to action to subscribe to the emails? It’s not just “sign up for our newsletter.” It says, “Want more stories of rescue?”

The powerful image of the woman smiling tells us part of the story. We want to find out the rest of her story.

Allow these inspiring examples help you build a better brand through storytelling.

What are your favorite brands both in and outside of the nonprofit industry?

Please share in a comment below!

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