Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Forget about going viral — it’s all about storytelling!

December 12, 2016

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The mechanics of internet virality are still a mystery, despite the countless instances of internet posts, memes, and stories “going viral” within the internet’s stratosphere. Why do some advertising campaigns and memes “just stick,” while others fall by the wayside? How did the Ice Bucket Challenge gain so much traction in 2015, motivating content creators to search tirelessly for their own viral solutions?

If only virality could be determined through an algorithm or through some kind of tested scientific research that we could apply to our communications.

Alas, it can’t be, and what’s more, if we actually had the means to calibrate this sort of stuff, everyone would be launching viral communications left and right, and there’d be no mystery left. My advice? Don’t engage in an endless pursuit of virality. It’s not useful. If you think, even for just a second, that discovering the next IBC will put your organization on the map, or that some kind of viral remedy that will ease your fundraising woes is just waiting to be discovered, stop right now.

Instead of focusing on whether your next video will go viral, study examples of stellar storytelling on a regular basis, and continue to take the time to hone your own story-crafting skills. Storytelling is what it comes down, around, and back to. For me, this means both immersing myself in storytelling culture, all while creating narratives of my own. I search for what inspires me, makes me cry, makes me laugh, makes me experience joy… I look for material that packs a colossal emotional punch.

What resonates with you may have already resonated with the masses, and for me, that’s the case with this particular story. Check out the clip, which contains a beautifully poignant narrative that’s less than three minutes, and tell me it didn’t make you feel a range of different stuff. I dare you.

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