Home > communications, social media > Tell Better People Stories: Use a Post Hole Digger

Tell Better People Stories: Use a Post Hole Digger

This article first appeared in Kivi’s Nonprofit Marketing Tips, a free weekly e-newsletter.

What ruins many a good story about a nonprofit client, volunteer, or donor is the broad brush. It produces profiles that are way too shallow and wide. You try to cover too much about the person in too little space, and we end up with an “overview” of this amazing individual, instead of a compelling story we can’t forget.

Post Hole DiggerHere’s my best tip for telling a story about a single person: put down your broad brush and pick up your post hole digger.

For those of you unfamiliar with this tool, post hole diggers dig a deep, but narrow hole that a fence post can sink down into. You want to do the same thing with your profile. Pick a fairly narrow aspect of this person’s personality or experience, and go deep into that one aspect of the person’s story.

Here are some examples, taking some typical broad brushes we see in nonprofit profiles and turning them into post holes.

Broad Brush: Talking about a volunteer’s family tree, e.g., Mary has been married for 36 years to Phil, and they have four children, and 15 grandchildren.

Post Hole: Ask Mary which one member of her family most shares her passion for your cause. Explore that single relationship in your article.

Read more here.

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