Podcast Transcript: Elevate Your Nonprofit Outreach with Recipient Stories

May 20, 2021

JILLYN: When it comes to Nonprofit Outreach and Marketing, there are plenty of tools available to use. The most important thing for your nonprofit is to find and use the right ones.

Hi, I’m Jillyn, Founder and Executive Director of Technology Aloha, and I’m here today with our Content Manager, Kelli to talk about Nonprofit Recipient Stories. Our podcast today will be broken into four sections —

  • What are recipient stories?
  • The #1 Rule when using recipient stories
  • Benefits of using recipient stories
  • How to collect them

Let’s get started.

Escalators: Elevate Your Nonprofit Outreach with Recipient Stories

What are Recipient Stories?

KELLI: Hi everyone, I thought we could start today’s podcast with a simple question that I know has a more complex answer than people might think. So Jillyn, what are recipient stories?

JILLYN: You’re right, Kelli. That question does lead to a lot of other questions. But in simple terms, Recipient Stories are the success stories of your Nonprofit.

They’re stories about the impact your organization has made, told by those you have directly helped. When your nonprofit saves lives, betters lives or helps improve situations — in the short or long term — there is a story to tell and people who will be motivated to tell it.

That story is a powerful tool you can use in your Nonprofit outreach to gain more volunteers, more donors, and more awareness of the problem your Nonprofit is working to solve.

The #1 Rule when Using Recipient Stories

KELLI: I think my brain just melted a little bit on how important recipient stories are. But I did want to mention a rule that stands as #1 when your Nonprofit wants to share recipient stories.

JILLYN: And what is that?

KELLI: Always get permission from your recipients before telling their story. Never share a story that includes identifying information about a recipient unless you get full, and written, permission from them. Nonprofit organizations help so many people, and some of them don’t want others to know they needed the support they received.

So just be sure to ask first. Those that are receptive to sharing their story are great, but some won’t be. Both situations are fine, but if you share the identities of those your nonprofit serves without their permission, you may end up hurting the people you’re trying to help.

JILLYN: That is very true, Kelli. And there may be legal ramifications for your organization as well. In fact, it’s probably worth having a standard Consent and Release form for your nonprofit that you can have recipients (and volunteers) sign.

Some people will say no, but many will say yes. So be sure to ask as part of your service process — you’ll be amazed by the response!

But Kelli is right that nonprofits must ask first — always get a signed Consent and Release before sharing recipient stories outside your organization!

Nonprofit Outreach Benefits of Recipient Stories

KELLI: Exactly. But, after getting permission, what are some of the benefits of using recipient stories?

JILLYN: Knowing you Kelli, you’ll be happy to hear how much these types of stories can help a nonprofit.

KELLI: I’m always happy when I hear how storytelling is a powerful tool. Storytelling is one of my favorite content marketing tools and I bet it gives some pretty awesome benefits when it comes to nonprofit outreach.

JILLYN: It really does! Recipient stories do something that other kinds of outreach can’t — they humanize your organization. Stories with pictures and videos show the people behind why you do what you do. A nonprofit’s “Why” is why it’s a nonprofit, and it’s the most powerful motivator an organization has! The success stories of the people your nonprofit serves show others that the goals of your nonprofit are worth supporting and contributing to.

KELLI: Yes. I was happy to hear that. All types of storytelling are great for a nonprofit, but there is a feeling in the story of someone who now has a better life because of a nonprofit’s work that can’t be replicated.

How Your Nonprofit Can Get The Stories

JILLYN: Very true Kelli. So what are the best ways for nonprofits to get these stories?

KELLI: We touched on getting stories for your nonprofit to share last month when we talked about, “Promoting Your Nonprofit with Volunteer Stories.” And, to quote my favorite podcast recording partner, “If you can capture video, that will give you the most opportunities for reuse.”

JILLYN: Very true, whoever said that must be very smart.

KELLI: Very, very smart. [Laughter] But yes, if you can get video recordings of recipient stories, you can use them in several ways. Like:

  • Grabbing stills from the video to use as photos to share on social media
  • Sharing individual quotes on your website
  • Transcribing an interview for a blog post

JILLYN: Exactly. And there are many other ways to share the stories, so getting them through video is a great place to start. Just be sure that you capture the video in the highest quality possible with the device you use. It will ensure that the still images pulled from the video are good enough to share!


JILLYN: Well it looks like that’s all the time we have for today. We’ve included links in the description to several of our blog posts that cover the topic we discussed today. I’m Jillyn.

KELLI: and I’m Kelli. If you have questions about using nonprofit recipient stories or have other topics you want to hear on our podcast, please reach out on social media or contact us at TechnologyAloha.com.

JILLYN: Thank you for listening to Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha. We hope we’ve added a little Aloha to your day.

Listen to this post on our podcast!

Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha

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