Oftentimes, we think of nonprofit storytelling as capturing the experiences of those benefiting from the nonprofit’s programs, and using those testimonials to raise funds. While it's indisputable that these stories serve as a compelling means to humanize your nonprofit’s mission, they may not fully encapsulate the remarkable impact your organization is making.

Today, I challenge you to think outside of the traditional nonprofit storytelling box, and explore how volunteer stories can benefit your nonprofit. Volunteer narratives offer a diverse array of perspectives, enabling them to resonate with various segments of your audience. Let’s explore the four types of volunteer stories you can gather at your nonprofit to inspire, recruit and retain great volunteers.

4 Types of Volunteer Stories

  1. Stories of Personal Transformation: How has volunteering changed the perspective, skills, or outlook of your volunteer? Whether driven by a life-changing moment that inspired them to volunteer, or the heartwarming impacts they witnessed during their service, personal transformation stories provide the poignant and uplifting moments that audiences crave.
  2. Impact Narratives: Uncover the significance of your volunteers' tasks and why they matter. While some volunteer activities, like planting trees, showcase a direct impact, others, though essential, may operate behind-the-scenes. This array of stories highlights the tangible effects of volunteer work on the overall success of the nonprofit.
  3. Before-and-After Accounts: Do your volunteer projects have a clear before-and-after?  Illuminate your stark results by drawing inspiration from the time-tested infomercial before-and-after tactic. These stories offer visually compelling narratives of overcoming obstacles and achieving collective success—whether it's stacking boxes at a food pantry, constructing a home, or, in my case, soaping and rinsing one of our nation’s most visited national monuments.
  4. Stories of Connection: Volunteers are 67% more likely to become donors than the general population. Why? Because of the connection they feel after dedicating their time and effort to your organization. Explore narratives that demonstrate the relationships built between your volunteers and your program beneficiaries, special event attendees, and your staff members. Have unexpected friendships bloomed? Tell us about it!

Read the full article about volunteering stories by Carly Euler at VolunteerMatch.