• teensmom99

    I really don’t get this article. It seems gratuitously critical. We are told all the time that nonprofits need to work on their story telling. I have no idea about what the nonprofit in question does and if it needs to do more about its substance rather than focusing on just story telling. That would have been something to write about. This is just nasty.

    • Bob G.

      I wouldn’t call it “nasty”. I think the question is whether it makes sense to contract a PR company to confront an “image problem” or devote more resources to building networks and lines of communication to get things done.

      • teensmom99

        Bob, you are right in general that a nonprofit should first work on its substance and only then on its communications. But there’s nothing in the article that lets us know if that’s the case. I have no idea if the nonprofit in question does good work or not. The criticism seems to be solely based on the fact that they hired someone to tell their story. When I was a consultant, I had lots of clients who did great work but no one knew about them. It is a disservice to them to denigrate the need to invest in a communications strategy–especially because that often leads to great fundraising and more resources for the worthy cause. That’s why I said “nasty.”

        • ruth

          I would venture that telling your own story is great but if your constituents are not advocating for you and telling your story it is indicative of larger problems. “Storytelling” as in an organization speaking to an audience has been invested with way too much potential as a tool for branding – it is in the story others tell about you that brand resides.

          • teensmom99

            Ruth, that would be an interesting conversation to have and I would agree with you. But since the article tells us nothing about the organization and only denigrates storytelling, I just participated in a great webinar that demonstrated how telling stories about themselves helped organizations with very few donors build really strong campaigns. I stand by my criticism. The Nonprofit Quarterly usually does a much better job in posing issues. This article was facile and, yes, nasty. It is possible that there in this case the organization should not have hired a story teller and done more on substance. Maybe the problem is that the article is too short. But I know nothing from the article about the organization or the consultant–who, for all I know, may have advised exactly what you say in your comment.

          • ruth

            it does not denigrate storytelling in the least.