The Most Overlooked Piece of Nonprofit Branding: Your Story

Every nonprofit has a story that deserves to be told. Your organization was born out of an idea, a moment, an experience—something inspired its existence. Are you sharing that story on your website?

The About section of your website is an opportunity to share the heart and soul of your organization. It’s also your chance to show potential donors that you’re working toward well-defined goals, and will put their support to good use. Your history, mission and vision do a lot to establish your credibility with site visitors. Don’t waste this opportunity.

After spending a lot of time perusing nonprofit websites for their About/Our Story/History pages, I’ve come to the conclusion that organizations are overlooking the value of the “About Us” information they choose to include. In an effort to impress upon y’all how important an organization’s story is to nonprofit branding, I’ve put together this list of my favorites. Give them a look. Get some ideas. Be inspired to share your own story on your website.

Imagination Foundation

Your story doesn’t need to be a novel. In fact, I would recommend it not be. You’ll lose people—fast. Imagination Foundation is the perfect example for how to tell your story in a succinct, compelling way.  With four sentences, you know the experience that inspired the organization, and what they hope to accomplish with their work.

They also give you the opportunity to dig deeper. You can watch the short films that sparked the movement and learn about the attention they received, but it’s not essential to understanding the driving force behind the organization.

Imagination Nonprofit Branding

Lesson: Share the essentials. Be engaging and concise. It’s a great idea to include more information than the basics, but make it optional.

Team Rubicon USA

I love these guys. Team Rubicon’s content seriously rocks. Their web content is incredibly well executed and so effective. Their About page is no different.

Before I even get to the telling of their actual story, this page is just fun to look at. There’s a gif showing their organization in action and tons of awesome photos. It’s immediately engaging—you want to know more about these people. They’ve hooked you before you’ve even read a word.

So, now that they have visitors interested, they give them options. Watch the video of our story or read a quick summary of it. The video is awesome. I highly recommend watching it. But, what I love about the text version is that they didn’t just plop a huge chunk of text onto the page and call it a day. They broke it up with big, bold text and images. It makes it so much more appealing to read and much easier to digest.

Team Rubicon Nonprofit Branding

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to share your story in more than one way. There’s nothing wrong with offering a video and text version of your story. Let your visitors decide how they want to consume it.

CARE

I love how much attention CARE gives their history on the website. They go one step further than sharing the story of their origins with you. They share the contents of the first CARE packages, have an awesome “CARE packages: Then and Now” gallery for visitors to browse, and videos documenting the impact of CARE packages throughout history. All of this makes the whole concept of what they’re doing a bit more real for visitors.

My favorite piece of their History section though is how seamlessly they weave in various calls-to-action.

Check out what the original CARE package contained and use those ingredients to create a recipe and share it with us on social media.

Read about the history of CARE and donate.

Read about this couple that fell in love through CARE packages and “deliver lasting change” with CARE.

CARE nonprofit branding

Lesson: CARE proves that you can tactfully call people to donate as you share your story with them. Don’t take this section of your site for granted. Use it to its full potential. Follow CARE’s lead, connect your past to your present, and call people to action.

Your work is important, and should definitely be the focus of your website. But, don’t take for granted the role your story and history can play in grabbing people’s interest and establishing your credibility. Your nonprofit’s origins are important, and worth sharing with potential donors.

Is your nonprofit sharing its story on your website? Do you have any tips for engaging ways to share your history with visitors? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.