There are five evergreen videos for nonprofits that are the cornerstones of your organization. Investing in these stories will help maximize your impact for years to come because they are always relevant and fresh for your audience.
What's a cornerstone story? 🤔
Cornerstones are the essential elements, the foundation, of any structure. When communicating about your organization, it's the same. Cornerstone stories are the primary and foundational stories that anchor your organization in the minds of others, helping them understand what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.
The 5 Evergreen Videos for Nonprofits
Muse Storytelling suggests three cornerstone stories; impact, values, and origin. We want to plus Muse and two more relevant stories to share; the explainer and process/approach story. Let's break down all five stories, including how they can be used, and share some examples.
Origin Story, aka Founder Story
Your Origin Story is the story of how you started. What problem did you run into? What did you do about it? And how did you get to where you are now?
Has someone ever asked you, "Tell me about your organization?" Where do you begin? Most Communication Directors might say, "We're a _________ nonprofit that does __________." Instead of going into facts immediately, this moment is a prime time to dive into a story. A well-crafted origin story helps future donors better understand your values, mission, and history by seeing the context and motivation behind your work. These insights into your organization can help potential donors determine if their values align with yours.
Applications for an Origin Story
The best places to use an Origin Story are wherever you start building new relationships, hiring employees for your team, or someone is just casually browsing your website for the first time.
Our friends at Muse like to say," A story is the shortest distance between two people. Whenever there's space between you and another person, an Origin Story will shorten it by showing who you are, what makes you different, and what you're all about.
Impact Story aka Customer Story
Your Impact Story is when your work has made an impact. It shows a real example of when your work drove real change.
Impact stories demonstrate the tangible results of your work, the progress made towards a particular goal, or the positive change created in a community. An impact story can help future donors decide where to invest their resources and help build trust and long-term advocacy between donors and your org.
Impact stories are more impactful if told through the lens of your audience. This approach builds credibility for your work. Potential donors are looking for signs that your organization is legit; you create change. Crafting impact stories help donors feel more confident about donating or inspiring them to learn more about your organization.
Applications for an Impact Story
While Origin Stories are for when people are just getting to know you, Impact Stories are for when donors are on the brink of deciding whether to give. These videos can be shared anywhere on your website that's relevant. Place the video on the program's page if the impact story focuses on a specific program. These stories work well on social media, giving viewers something inspiring and encouraging to watch—simply an impact page. Impact stories are great "here's what we're up to" videos showing people the impact of your work. Let's remember emails and events where these stories can be displayed.
Why Story aka Values Story
Your Values story is the story of who you are as an organization. It demonstrates a personal quality or strength that's core to who you are.
Storyteller Annette Simmons said, "Before you tell someone what's in it for them, they want to know what's in it for you." Why Stories provide the deep-rooted reason your organization does what it does, it's not about the what here; it's about the values you cling to that inform your work even when funding is low, and you're working 40+ hours to make things happen.
Your why and values become a magnet attracting those with shared values willing to support you. Why Stories aren't for those who practice lips service, but for those who are bold to be vulnerable.
Applications for a Values Story
A Why story is the most significant opportunity to comfort potential concerns your potential donors and the audience may have. Telling this type of story is a ground practice that helps emotionally connect people to the end goal and ensure they're bought in on the vision. Muse Storytelling suggests filtering employee candidates or business partners through your why. The level of engagement can be a crucial indicator of whether this partnership is a good fit. Your About page or homepage is a good place on your website to share this story.
Your Explainer Story communications what you do, who you serve, and how you do it in a clear and concise message,
These videos often introduce a nonprofit's mission, vision, and values to potential donors, volunteers, and supporters. The essential purpose of an explainer video is to quickly simplify complex concepts (throughline) and make them easy to understand and digest. By breaking down complicated ideas into simple and engaging visuals, nonprofits can help their audience understand their work and impact quickly and effectively.
Applications for an Explainer Story
With your Explainer Story, you can confidently answer the question, "What does your organization do?". Explainer videos can be embedded on the homepage of your website or the "About Us" page to provide an overview of your organization and your mission. These videos are great introductions for people who have recently discovered your organization.
Your Process/Approach Story showcases your approach and methodology to achieve your mission. This video can include a step-by-step guide to how your nonprofit approaches a problem or a demonstration of how you've implemented your solutions.
Process/approach videos are helpful because they can help potential donors understand how the organization works and what sets them apart from other nonprofits. By showcasing your organization's unique approach, potential donors can see the organization's expertise and competence, which can build trust and increase the likelihood of donations.
Applications for an Approach Story
Approach Stories are for when potential supports are aware of you and considering sincerely accessing your work. These videos can be on your "About," "Mission," or "Approach" live what we've done at BairStories. Speaking of, our final story example is our approach to storytelling.
Conclusion for Creating Evergreen Video Content
There are a lot of stories your organization can tell. Still, not all are equal, nor will all yield the most significant return on investment. Like the ones mentioned above, evergreen video content has a long lifespan. It continues to be relevant and engaging for audiences.
This can result in increased engagement and views, which can help build a loyal audience and establish a brand or channel as a trusted content source. Plus, you can never go wrong with investing in these cornerstone stories, as they will serve for a long time.
Create impactful stories with BairStories!
Start creating your cornerstone stories today and see how they can impact your organization's success.