A friend wrote me and asked "Were you ever able to make progress on ideas around working for NGO's?" Here are my comments to help him navigate this from what I have learned.
Today as you know it is easier than ever to become a photographer and get published. The gatekeepers are removed for the most part. You can go and shoot a story today and publish it today for the world to see.
Today worldwide travel for us is the easiest it has ever been—minus some visa and security issues. So the ability to go and cover the world is somewhat attainable. This is why so many today have traveled internationally as compared to years ago.
What is the one thing stopping then most storytellers? The finance side.
Matthew 6:26 reminds us " Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
This doesn't mean you just sit back, you do just like the birds—The early bird gets the worm.
I think what I have found is that these NGOs tend to be run by people who are now experiencing an all time high in volunteerism. This includes the “GWC Guy With Camera” that in a way makes what we do more difficult to sell to the NGO.
Today we need to create better PR for ourselves and what our work can do for them than ever before. We have relied way too long on showing our work and expecting the person to get how this can help them.
You are also competing with untold numbers of great storytellers who are all trying to do the same thing. They are not just GWC but great storytellers. So, how do you stand out and get the attention that can be monetized?
ROI—Return On Investment
Besides today just creating a portfolio of your work for an NGO you need to create a portfolio of success stories. This is different from the portfolio. This is where the ROI is captured.
Two basic elements are needed to convince and NGO to spend money when they get so much for free already. They need to see numbers and testimonies.
If you can demonstrate how one of your packages helped increase the support for an NGO then you have their ears. Once you have their ears you give them the second punch for the knockout—a testimony from that client.
Two ways you are marketed
First, you do a great job for a client others will see it and ask them who did their work for them. Also, often they are so excited they tell your story for you. This is the very best way for your marketing to work. The second way is for you to capture this from a client and use this material to market to other NGOs. Maybe this is a brochure with photos some charts showing giving going up and then quotes from the clients.
Why do I not see this being done?
It is being done by many. Most of us stumble into it. We go on some missions trip or go volunteer and create a package for telling the story because we just like to do that. Then we share it. This is how Jeremy Cowart jump started his business. He covered a trip to Africa and put a book together. He shared it and then Britney Spears people saw it and asked him to work on their next tour.
I think those who can find a great emotional story and invest in doing the story the best way they can show their abilities for storytelling and capture how this story helped as a change agent [ROI] then they may launch easily into more NGO coverages.
I can tell you NGOs may not be the best place to monetize what we do with storytelling. Today the trend in marketing is using storytelling as the content for marketing. Here are some links about this being done today:
- Five Storytelling Strategies » Digital Marketing » 435 Digital Internet ...
Nov 13, 2013 - When it comes to the content on your site – whether it's a weekly blog or occasionally updating a module on the homepage – it's never a bad ...
- How to Use Storytelling as a Marketing Strategy | Wired Advisor Blog Everyone has a story to share. We are shaped by our life experiences, both personal and professional. Sharing stories about our own lives, and also the lives of ...
- Story as Strategy, How Social Storytelling Leads to Business | Social ...
Social Media Marketing Podcast 69, in this episode Gary Vaynerchuk Gary shares why storytelling is important for your business.
- 5 Secrets to Use Storytelling for Brand Marketing Success - Forbes
Learn the five secrets that brand storytellers understand and use to ... and indirect brand marketing initiatives have become a strategicpriority.
- Integrate More Brand Storytelling in Your Content Marketing Strategy Jun 26, 2013 - Discover how your company can easily integrate characters and stories consumers want to share into your content, as well as examples of ...