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3 Ways To Tell Your Story: Review of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, by Kivi Leroux Miller

nonprofit marketing guide, kivi leroux miller

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide is an excellent book by Kivi Leroux Miller, and I am sorry it took me this long to read it.

Things I have learned from it that YOU can use for your end of year appeal:

Kinds of Nonprofit stories:
1. Act 1 Learn about the protaganist (the “i want” song in disney movies)
2. Act 2 The conflict!
3. Act 3 Action peaks, protaganist achieves goals, hopeful outlook for future


Another kind of story: The hero’s journey
1. Problem, for example, starving kids
2. Solution, for example, milk, is not working
3. Innovative solution, a COW! Thus, Heifer project international.

Dan Harmon imitates this in his diagram here:

how to write a story, dan harmon

Connection plot kind of story:

Small situation
Greater human experience revealed through surprise, discovery
Pull out even further to include the person listening to the story

6 qualities of a good nonprofit marketing story
1. short.
2. straightforward.
3. personal.
4. authentic.
5. conflict/imperfections
6. ends with a message.

Other things I have learned from Nonprofit Marketing Guide

If you are a small nonprofit, just starting out, how can you get more visible?

What are the 3 questions that people are seeking answers for when they come to your website? Make sure those answers are available front and center.

Most people find you through needing your help or being referred to you through a trusted source.

How can you be more visible? Get listed in the chamber of commerce, phone book, with local government and associations.

How about word of mouth?

  • You should go out and do speaking engagements. Educate people about your products and services.
  • Identify people who are most likely to share their opinion
  • Provide them with the tools that make it easier to share information.
  • Study how, where, and when opinions are being shared.
  • Listen and respond to supporters, detractors, and neutrals.

Who do YOU think tells good stories?

One of the things that would have been useful to have in this book would have been worksheets and checklists. However, she did mention that you could take a few lessons from this free PDF by Colin Delany from, on how Obama raised a billion dollars in 2009. A useful thing indeed!

The final phrase that stuck out for me most in this book was “Describe the Candy, Not the Wrapper” when naming your nonprofit e-newsletter. Don’t call it “Rose-Mary’s blog.” Call it “10 signs of autism.”

I truly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it for your nonprofit bookshelf!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it, if so?

PS. There is a wiki where you can upload your annual report and see what others have done as well. Very nice!


2 responses on “3 Ways To Tell Your Story: Review of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, by Kivi Leroux Miller

  1. Mazarine Mazarine says:

    You are welcome! 🙂 It’s a good book, and can help those of us who don’t know how to construct a story do it quickly and easily.

  2. Great Post!The book sounds awesome and I thank you for sharing!