Share Your Heart Through Nonprofit Digital Storytelling

Everyone has a story

Emotional connection is everything. Understand the heart of nonprofit digital storytelling on social media with this article.


Many nonprofits fail to build an emotional connection with supporters because they forget about the human-to-human connection. It’s easy to become lost in trying to connect dollars to programs, leading to transactional relationships that don’t last. Ultimately, this missed opportunity lowers all-important donor retention rates.

The good news is, nonprofits have some of the most emotionally gripping stories out there! Nonprofits can capture the hearts of supporters by staying mission-focused and story-driven. One of the most effective ways to execute nonprofit digital storytelling is with videos and live streams on social media.

Keep reading to learn:

  • A framework for nonprofit digital storytelling

  • How to take iPhone videos that capture the heart of your nonprofit

  • Tips and tricks for boosting connection on Instagram Live

  • Ways to maximize donor engagement on Facebook Live

Nonprofit Digital Storytelling - a Framework

In a previous article, “How To Share Your Brand Story in 3 Minutes,” we shared a simple 3 step framework for digital storytelling. This philosophy is relevant to all types of formats - videos, social media posts, emails, newsletters, blogs - you name it. Here’s a recap:

Challenge - What need, problem, or issue compelled your nonprofit to act? Jump immediately into your story with a challenge or conflict to draw viewers in. No formal intro necessary. Back up the personalized, emotional aspects of your account with surprising facts and statistics about the need.

Solution - What was your nonprofit’s ‘aha’ moment? How did you realize you had an answer to this challenge? What programs do you have that meet this problem? What makes your solutions unique?

Action - What impacts have you made? How many lives have been impacted? What one step are you asking viewers to take (e.g., volunteer, donate, advocate, pray)?

Let’s consider how your nonprofit can take this framework and apply it to social media with iPhone videos, Instagram Live, and Facebook Live.

iPhone Videos - Capture the Heart of Your Nonprofit

Thanks to the iPhone, any nonprofit can produce a decent video for their social media efforts themselves. But how do you capture the heart of your nonprofit in a post? 

Taking the framework above, separate into different timeframes optimized for each platform. For example:

  • Instagram stories: portrait mode

  • Challenge - 15 seconds

  • Solution - 15 seconds

  • Action - 15 seconds

  • Facebook post: portrait mode

  • Challenge - 30 seconds

  • Solution - 30 seconds

  • Action - 30 seconds

  • YouTube video: landscape mode

  • Challenge - 1 min

  • Solution - 1 min

  • Action - 30 seconds

Pro tips:

  • Add your logo in the upper left hand or bottom right-hand corner (e.g., Stickers on Stories)

  • Create a script or go off the cuff - whatever feels more authentic to your brand

  • Share your emotions, and don’t hold back

  • Practice a few takes first 

  • Make sure you have good natural lighting (early morning or mid-afternoon is often best)

  • Film in a quiet space with no background noise 

  • Send the video to someone else to see what they think of sound/light quality