Using Emotion to Connect with Website Visitors

Happy and Sad Hands

Emotion is powerful.  So much so that a four minute animated montage without any dialogue can bring us to tears.  What?  You’re not crying?  No, me either – I just have something in my eye…

Emotion is an incredible way to get people invested in what you’re doing.  It’s a way to connect a website visitor with your cause and make them feel the value of your organization.  It’s also a great way to help them decide to invest either time or money in supporting your work.

Inspiration: An Awesome Video from Google


This video immediately resonated with me.  Not only is it well made complete with cute baby photos, but I can relate to much of what the narrator says.  I’ve taken special photos on my phone.  I’ve left my phone places I didn’t exactly intend to.

This video – the one that struck an emotional chord with me so much so that I saw fit to include it in this post – it’s about photo backup.  That’s right, online storage for photos.  I’m getting emotionally connected to a photo backup solution.  But that’s the whole point.

If Google can establish an emotional connection with a viewer when talking about photo backup, you can definitely do so when talking about your organization.  You just have to focus on telling stories.

Instead of Listing Info, Tell a Story

Your organization is full of stories.  You need to be sharing them in a compelling way.  Sure, there are tons of benefits your organization offers to the world.  But don’t just list them out.  Present them as stories.

There are a variety of potential places to share these stories:

  • Infuse them into your website copy.
  • Write blog posts about them.
  • Share them across your social media channels.
  • Record videos or audio interviews.
  • Send them out in email newsletters.
  • Include them as part of fundraising appeals or calls for volunteers.

Just get them out there for people to see.

Avoid Over-Filtering

All too often we take a great story and mold it with our own thoughts, gleaning our key takeaways and telling people what they should “get” from it.  It’s far more compelling if you let the story speak for itself, but present it in such a way so the takeaway is evident.  Google didn’t belabor the point.  They illustrate the benefit for this individual father and flash up the simple phrase “Every picture instantly saved.”

Give your website visitors the freedom to interpret the stories that you tell.  And trust them enough to figure out the meaning in a way that resonates with them.

Have you seen nonprofits that are telling particularly compelling stories?  We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Related Reads

Using Video for Your Nonprofit: Benefits and Drawbacks

Storytelling: An Important Part of Any Website

Bringing Authenticity to Web Copy

Image courtesy of SashaW, Flickr