Telling stories to build your community online

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Today we’re at the Social Media Exchange – Being the story talking about how charities can use storytelling as a way to build a community online. We recommend following the hashtag #SMEX15.

Here are the slides from our session ‘Telling stories to build your community online’ and some tips to help your charity tell great stories on social media.

Why is storytelling so effective?

Great storytelling is a powerful and effective way of inspiring and motivating your online community. It enables you to demonstrate your organisation’s impact, make your supporters feel valued and turn your online community into advocates. Social media is about real people telling real stories. Think about why someone updates their Facebook status or checks their Instagram. They are either telling their friends a story about something they’re doing, or they’re finding out what their friends have been up to. As a charity, when people see your message in their timeline, you don’t want to interrupt that experience – you need to be a part of it.

Stories your charity can tell

  • Talk about your beneficiaries – tell your community about the people their donations are making a difference to.
  • Talk about your amazing fundraisers – tell your community what they’re doing and why they are doing it.
  • Do you have any volunteers? Talk about the people working on the ground doing amazing things, or if your charity has shops, you could talk about the people who give up their time to run it.
  • Talk about your service providers – whether it’s a nurse who’s devoted years, or someone working on the latest research, celebrate them on your social channels.
  • How about campaigners? Are there people really advocating for change? How are they making a difference to your organisation? Let your supporters know about their campaigning work.

How to find great stories

Here are some ways you can find great stories:

  • Ask your community – a quick tweet or Facebook post asking your community about their upcoming fundraising plans will not only help you with stories, it will start conversations and show your supporters that you’re interested.
  • Send an email to your colleagues – ask the people you work with. They are bound to know about great stories, and there’s always a possibility they’ll tell you about something or someone you weren’t aware of.
  • Check out local news and set up a Google alert for your charity name – your fundraisers could potentially appear in their local newspaper, so set up Google Alerts and have their stories sent directly to your inbox.
  • Look at your JustGiving reports – log in to your charity account and see what fundraising pages have been set up recently. Read why they’ve taken on their fundraising challenge.and then get in touch.

You are all amazing

Social media and great stories are what we do, so do get in touch if you have any questions. And of course, we’d love to hear your stories. If your charity has a story about someone incredible and you think more people should know about them, contact us. We’d love to promote your amazing fundraisers and hard working service providers. You can email us social@justgiving.com.

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Helen looks after our social channels here at JustGiving. As social media manager she loves creating useful, inspiring content that connects with our community and celebrates their amazing achievements.