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The Art of Storytelling


The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is one the four winners of this year’s Wilmer Shields Rich Awards, a partnership between the Communications Network and the Council on Foundations. In the following post, which originally appeared on the Council’s Re: Philanthropy blogRita Soronsen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, discusses the role communication plays in helping the foundation advance its goals.

Guest Post:  Rita Soronsen

Storytelling is at the heart of all emotions. Think about it. You hear a song, the lyrics move you, you have an emotional reaction. You see a sad movie, you may cry. It’s no different with brands that vie for emotional connections with their consumers. And nonprofits simply must use communications—storytelling—as a very important tactic to steward current donors and secure new funders.

rita_3Communications can now be in the form of almost anything—a blog, a video, a text, an e-mail, a printed piece, a “pin,” a “liked” comment, a tweet. The challenge is finding an audience in each of those outlets that will be receptive to our communications. Once the audience is found, another challenge is presented. How do we sound to them? Are we authentic? Are we engaging? We must be or we will not get a second chance to do so.

Our stories, our communications, are purposeful. We want to invoke emotion; cause a reaction in a person to do something—in our case to learn more about foster care adoption, donate to us, and ultimately adopt a child. So there really isn’t a Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption without communications. And not just from the communications team—from all of us. Each person here has an important story to tell. And every child waiting to be adopted deserves only our very best efforts.

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