Non Profits and “Shaping the Conversation”

Man Walking

Is your voice being heard?

Are you engaging your audience? And most crucially, are you affecting change? Unfortunately, usually the answer is somewhere in the middle. As useful as it would be to have a black and white answer, the more likely conclusion is that your organization’s story is being sent out into the noise and the result lies somewhere in the grey area. You might have seen first-hand some of the powerful and affecting work your company has achieved, but you know there is more work to be done, and more people to be reached.

We at One Story believe that “Shaping the Conversation” starts by telling better stories, and actively engaging with the community your organization is seeking to build and grow. In the age of social media, marketing demands more than a one-way conversation. Marketing requires discussion - your audiences want to be able to debate purpose, approach and outcomes, and what’s more social media enables them to do it without organizations even knowing. So how do you influence and shape that dialogue to ensure that the audience’s conversation is on message with what you want as an organization?

1. Fully understand your message.

Know the issue inside and out - this might seem like an obvious point but we can’t stress the importance of this first point enough. Leave no question unanswered when it comes to your story. The more comprehensive your understanding of the issue, the more your production company will understand the story and the stronger it will communicate clearly to the audience through the film. If the audience feels like you don’t fully understand the message, especially in the case of the sensitive issues and material that nonprofits often address, they will not engage. In order for there to be a conversation to shape, we’ve got to start with the story.

2. Ongoing communication

Gone are the days where you can put a video out into the consumer world and sit on it for a 9 month or 1 year marketing cycle. You and your organization need to be reactionary, and flexible when it comes to communicating with your audience. Respond to comments, link audience to complimentary and related material - be a part of their conversation and help drive it in the directions that you want. If and when gains are made in your cause, update the video, post it to facebook and instagram and twitter. The key is to keep people talking and make them realize that the issue you’re addressing is ongoing, and that your commitment to it is ongoing. This not only helps you achieve the goals of your organization, but it shapes the audience’s thoughts about your organization as a brand. It answers those questions of, “How much do they really care?”

3. Collaborate with others.

Whether you’re a foundation, volunteer, startup or someone else trying to help a cause, building relationships and bridges between these groups and forming a real connection can help you immeasurably. Just ensure that those collaborative goals are clear. The simple question, “What are we trying to achieve together and why?” can lead to candid conversations among partners and help prevent roadblocks. The motivations and goals of the partners don’t have to be identical, but articulating them clearly fosters transparency and helps manage expectations throughout the process. When you work together with other organizations you’ll find you’re cutting costs through sharing infrastructure and administrative expenses. You’ll also have a larger network to increase efficiency and create a think-tank environment of new and diverse ideas, which could help you in those complex situations. You’ll inevitably bring individuals with different leadership skills together who can learn from one another. Most crucially, in our belief, you can raise your voice. It’s easy for small nonprofits to be drowned out by louder forces, such as the government, large corporations, or even other nonprofits. Working with like-minded forces might prevent your voice from getting lost and expand the possibilities for your own project.

4. Don’t give up

Sometimes it takes a while. Don’t expect your video to be an overnight success, and the conversation and results to be on point immediately. Even the most successful video marketing campaigns can take a little while before they get swept up in the spiral of social media (for more information on this check out our blog post, which explores Search Engine Optimization). The more you put into your campaign and engaging with the audience, the greater the chances that it will be seen and shared by more people. Reaching your audience takes times and effort, so don’t be dejected if you don’t get the reception you want and deserve straight away!

5. Measure the outcomes

One invaluable thing about using video as part of your digital marketing strategy is that you can measure the success through in built data feedback loops. We explored this in one of our previous blogs, but essentially you can tell how many people watched the video and for how long. These metrics can tell you how successful your video was, and help you adjust future projects to be even more so. Whilst analysing the digital data is obviously important always keep in mind the simple measure of success. At One Story we’ve worked with Austin Sunshine Camps who can measure the success of our collaboration by looking at the data, but also by simply assessing: how many kids lives did we change last summer through camp? The more children who can go to Austin Sunshine Camps, the better job they are doing. This remains the powerful cornerstone of how they ‘shape the conversation’ around their own story.

At One Story we have the experience and know-how to help you shape the conversation around your nonprofit. Our team will work with you to ensure that the film we make together gets your voice heard and noticed out in the noise. If you are looking to update your digital marketing strategy with some new visual content, get in contact! Let’s start a dialogue.

View all blog posts