Social Story-Telling (A Case Study)

About a year ago I was offered the gift to work with Liz Hayes, the Marketing Director for the Center for the Visually Impaired, to build out their social media strategy. Liz is one of those amazing clients who is not only a sponge for information and ideas but also someone who will effectively implement those ideas.

The past couple of months Liz and I have had the opportunity to co-present at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. At a presentation yesterday Liz was able to showcase how all her hard work in social media is paying off.

Each time I speak to a group of nonprofits I start by asking a few questions.

1. What is your mission? 

Practically everyone can answer this question….by rote memory.

2. Why?

Because the mission statement is usually memorized, it is too common that people have to think for a moment about why their mission is what it is.

3. Who have you specifically helped?

90% of the time this question is answered with a statement that sound like it is right out of a marketing brochure. “We have helped 25,000 people who have found themselves without the means to….blah blah blah.” There is nothing to pull at my emotional strings in such statements.

The statement that more the 7,500 soldiers have died in Afghanistan does not have the same impact as hearing about the soldier who had only 2 more weeks left in Afghanistan before he could come home to see his newborn daughter but was killed while on the side of the road changing a tire for a stranded citizen.

4. How does what you do impact my life?

This question almost always stumps my audience. The typical answer is that they are there if I  or anyone I know ever need them. That is great, but how are you going to raise money when the only people who know about you are the people who need you?  The goal of this question is to help my audience see how what they do has a larger positive impact on society as a whole and that we all benefit from their work and therefore we all have a responsibility to support them.

This is the consultation that Liz has run with at CVI. The CVI Facebook page is full of personal stories, valuable resource information, inspirational stories, and stories of how CVI impacts society as a whole. And it is paying off tremendously.

In a year her community has grown to over 400 members – which is a strong following for a locally focused nonprofit organization. However what is so impressive is the 25% of that following is talking about CVI to their friends.

And what are people talking about? Personal stories of the impact that CVI is making on people’s lives and on society. 

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Jack and Luke are four years old, visually impaired, and on the path to a lifetime of learning and adventure as braille readers. You can help Jack, Luke and CVI clients of all ages with the vision to see beyond their disability.

What is the secret to CVI’s success? Liz would tell you that before she posts anything on Facebook she thinks about who it is for, why they would care, and what action they would take. She always puts herself in the shoes of her community first.