This may be a strange question, but think about it in terms of your nonprofit and look at how your current stories represent what you really want to share in order to attract new donors, gain more awareness and become a greater provider of the services you offer to your core client constituents.
From our perspective, there are three types of stories: stories of your past, present and future. Too often, organizations continue to share stories of their past when they really don’t help achieve the objectives of the present or meet the goals of the future. Typically, a nonprofit’s stories are about three years behind their current stories. Look at the stories you’re sharing; are they current or three years old?
Current stories are critically important to the success of any nonprofit. They help set the path for future success. And future stories begin to help the nonprofit “visionize” into the future, for their own sake and for the sake of those from whom they need ongoing support. For whatever reason, it’s much more difficult to capture current stories and step back and craft future stories.
Every nonprofit should evaluate the balance of its past, present and future stories. Start with a pie chart and begin to allocate a percent of the pie that you feel best represents the needs of your organization from each story piece. Would 30% of your past stories be important and meaningful to help your organization accomplish key goals in its strategic plan? If so, then what’s the best allocation of the remaining 60%? 40% on current stories with 20% devoted to future stories? Organizations must be realistic about these allocations—too often stories of the past seem to dominate but aren’t always the stories that facilitate the type of change, growth and impact your organization needs now and in the future.
So, what’s your proper story balance? Nonprofits that get their balance right will certainly get their future on the right path.