Ways to Tell Your Story Better

On Wednesday, Kiva posted an amazing visualization of what the world looks like during the last six years with loans flowing back and forth:

What happens when 620,000 lenders fund 615,000 entrepreneurs, students, and other microfinance borrowers around the world?

For now, put aside Kiva’s size and success and ask yourself, “What are we doing to help people understand what we’re accomplishing?”

Too often organizations get caught up in the numbers. It’s easy to do because numbers connote success, integrity, and results. If you can measure something, it gains legitimacy. My challenge to you is how can you make your numbers more powerful? And I’m not talking about the inflated kind.

The Power of Infographics

Without fail, the pictures of smiling people in nonprofit or charity collateral are seen as required. But could those pictures be doing more? Are you connecting the results with the pictures? For instance, check out the powerful infographics created by oBizMedia.

Through a combination of design and numbers, these infographics pull people in and provide a way to share important data. Remember: you don’t have to match the complexity or sophistication of these designs to accomplish your goal. Just look for ways to show what your numbers mean as opposed to just the numbers themselves.

Telling Stories

Success stories from people who were helped by your organization are great tools. But the stories that get printed rarely sound like a real person. With the threshold to get video on the web so low, start capturing your success stories in first person.

There’s also the flexibility to use video on more than just your website. Facebook and Google+ both support video, giving you another way to tell a powerful story about the success of your organization. Well-written stories are great, but don’t miss the opportunities afforded by video.

Damn Lies and Statistics

You do need numbers to tell your story, but numbers remain two dimensional until you give them a face and context. You may need line-by-line accounting for the bean counters of the world, but most people give money and support causes because they care about the people behind the numbers. And the more you can make your numbers visual and real, the better job they’ll do of attracting people to your cause.

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