Friday, July 8, 2016

Guest Blog: The How, Where and Why of Nonprofit Storytelling


We caught up with our client Bernadette Rivell Daniels last week. Conversation turned to the nonprofit marketing concept of storytelling. She shared the following with us.

The How, Where and Why of Nonprofit Storytelling

Over the past few years, brand development has been experiencing a fundamental shift toward a more personal, connective state in business – and becoming more "humanized."
In business, brands and branding techniques are changing to become a more active part of the conversation with customers, creating more immersive and interactive experiences. One of the best ways to achieve this emotional connection with customers is by telling the brand story, or storytelling.

People love stories, especially the ones where they can identify with. This connection forges an emotional bond between the brand and the customer, aligning them with the emotional core of the brand. A mix of visual and content storytelling inspires emotions and increases trust, which leads to more brand value. Every brand has a story and that story needs to speak to the customer. Most can relate to a common issue or problem that requires a definitive solution... so share how the brand has overcome these obstacles with a solution... and how the brand can provide the best solution to its customers' issues as well.

When it comes to nonprofit organizations, storytelling is one of the most important parts of communication and fundraising. A well-crafted story can give supporters insight into the daily operations of a nonprofit, highlight the history of the organization, or outline the need for its services – all to connect with supporters and encourage them into action.


Storytelling can be achieved through testimonials, mission statements, event summaries, or even an actual story that details a character who experiences a change or transformation – which tends to be the most powerful. The character, the protagonist, needs to be a real 
person – someone the audience can connect or empathize with – and should have a problem or need that your organization can help provide a solution for. There is an obstacle in the character's way that serves as the antagonist of the story, and your organization needs to describe how and why the audience is crucial to the success of the character overcoming the obstacle. This makes the audience a part of the story, compelling them to assist the character, thus creating a bond between the audience and the organization.


One of the most prominent storytelling tools used by nonprofits today is their website. The most successful nonprofit websites are a combination of great website structure, design, content, and functionality. According to researchers from the Joint Initiative of Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication and the Meyer Foundation:

• 33% of nonprofits have at least one story on their homepage;
• 21% have a separate page for their stories; and
• 15% integrate their stories into program-specific pages.

Nonprofit stories on websites can be delivered via text, video, photos, illustrations, audio, or a combination of media. People are most stimulated through imagery and video as it's easier to remember than text, so incorporating visuals into your story is imperative. Choose imagery that aids in telling the story, reflecting on the mission and goals of the organization.


Storytelling for nonprofits is intended to connect with supporters and inspire them to act. Whether it is one or a combination of three main nonprofit goals – fundraising, awareness,
or advocacy – creating call-to-actions to donate, volunteer, contact or share content in con-
junction with the story will guide supporters to follow through.

Following these guidelines – creating compelling stories on a professional website with clear call-to-actions will enhance your nonprofit's impact and strengthen its brand.

Our guest blogger is multiple Emmy-award winning Art Director/Graphic Designer Bernadette Rivell Daniels. She is the Principal/Creative Director of Identity Brand + Design.

Bernadette Rivell Daniels
Identity Brand + Design

Friday, February 26, 2016

UNF SBDC Nonprofit Client Tabbed "Homegrown Charity" by Minor League Baseball

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Locally based non-profit, BairFind today announced a partnership with Minor League Baseball and Minor League Baseball Charities to place their “BairFind Signs” in every minor league baseball stadium in America. As Minor League Baseball Charities newest official Homegrown Charity Partner, BairFind is expanding the search for missing children through an innovative approach to sports-based marketing.

"We are honored to be the newest Official Homegrown Charity Partner of Minor League Baseball," said BairFind founder Dennis Bair, a former Minor League pitcher for the Chicago
Cubs. "This summer, millions of baseball fans across the country will be enlisted in the search for missing kids. With BairFind Signs in MiLB stadiums, we will revolutionize the search for missing children in the USA in 2016."

“Through Minor League Baseball’s relationship with The BairFind Foundation, our ballparks can in one more way serve as a resource to their communities—to help find missing kids,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “We welcome BairFind to the MiLB family as a Homegrown Charity Partner and with the assistance of our clubs and fans, hope to play a small part in bringing more children home to their families.” BairFind's goal is to place a “BairFind Sign” in the concourse of every Minor League ballpark nationwide this season through a strategic roll out campaign with the support of MiLB Charities.

“BairFind Signs” feature missing children specific to each team's region. To date, BairFind has featured 278 missing children at 40 Minor League ballparks, 65 of whom have been safely located.

Bairfind CEO Ellen Sullivan noted, "This nonprofit has come a long way in a very short time. We thank the Jacksonville community for their support. Special thanks for the SBDC at the University of North Florida for being there with us at every turn. Kevin Monahan introduced me to founder Dennis Bair and things really took off from there."

About BairFind
BairFind is bringing and keeping more kids home through community awareness programs and innovative solutions designed to change the cultural conversation around missing children. As a tax exempt 501(c)(3), our objective is to expand the search through youth education and prevention, collaborative real-time response technologies and standing with families in their continued search.
Contact: Ellen Sullivan
Phone: 904.716.0255

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Share Your Mission with Social Media" to be Featured at FSBDC Nonprofit Conference Sept. 18th.

We asked Bridget Van Landingham of Business Solutions Unlimited to address the topic of nonprofit social media earlier in the year. We were so impressed that we immediately invited her to facilitate a similar session at our September 18th conference.

Bridget will help conference attendees how to maximize the use. of social media to build donations, supporters, solicit sponsors & volunteers and build community and brand awareness. Nobody has better stories to tell than a nonprofit! Learn how to do it effectively!

Bridget is an Operations Specialist with over 20 years of experience.  She has held such positions as Director of Operations, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Marketing & Business Development & Chief Executive Officer.  She has worked in various industries such as government, legal, and accounting.  Through these experiences she found a passion for supporting nonprofits. 

 In 2005 she decided to bring her skills to the small business owners and non-profits of the area in a cost effective manner by opening Business Solutions Unlimited, a marketing, accounting, management, and human resource firm.  Since then she has continued to build a team of specialist in these areas.  She has been a resident of St. Augustine, Florida since 1998.  She currently serves on numerous boards in the community such as the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce & St. Johns County Head Start Policy Committee.

2015 Nonprofit Conference

Harness the Internet to Carry Out Your Mission! Joe Lemire Featured at FSBDC Nonprofit Conference Sept. 18th!

A priority of ours in planning workshops for the 5th Annual FSBDC Nonprofit Conference  was to address the race to stay ahead in technology. Joe Lemire gives us just that capability.

The internet can be a powerful tool for your nonprofit if used correctly. Every charitable organization needs to take the opportunity to analyze their options and select the appropriate strategy to integrate traditional marketing, communications, and fundraising practices with their online efforts. In this session Joe will address trends that may impact your organizations internet strategy. Attendees of this workshop will be exposed to a variety of ideas and concepts that can be further developed to fit their specific mission.

Joe Lemire is the President and Chief Innovator for ELYK Innovation, a dynamic web development firm based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Launched in early 2000, ELYK Innovation helps businesses and organizations of all sizes develop and implement Internet strategy to grow.

Joe came to Jacksonville in 1992 from Akron, Ohio, where he received a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from the University of Akron.

Joe and his team have worked with many Non-profits in the region that include Daniel, The Arc, Fresh Ministries, Leadership Jacksonville, The North Florida School, Empowerment Resources, Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System, The Small Business Resource Network and The Small Business Development Center.

Community Involvement:

2013: Accepted to leadership Jacksonville, Class of 2014
2009 – 2012 Trustee Member, Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce
2009 – 2011 Board Member, Arlington Council
2007 – 2011 Board Member, South Council
2008 – President South Council, Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce
2007 – Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business Leader of the Year
2006 – Florida Small Business Development Center Network Regional Volunteer of the Year

Membership Organizations:
-The Small Business Resource Network
-Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce
-The Southside Business Men’s Club

-Harley Owners Group, Jax Chapter

2015 Nonprofit Conference

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dan Broze, Why Nonprofits Need Online Marketing - FSBDC Nonprofit Conference Sept. 18th!

Just in case you were not positive already,'s Dan Broze will be on hand at our 5th Annual FSBDC Nonprofit Conference to present a clear and easy to follow path to successful online marketing.

Online marketing is no longer optional for nonprofit organizations. Even the smallest and most local nonprofit must reach out to the public through an online presence.

In fact, having an exceptional website helps to legitimize your organization and your programming. People are searching for your website right now. If you do not have one you are out of the money. If you have one that is dreadful, you will lose out to another mission who put time and effort into their internet presence.

Dan Broze, a passionate online marketer for the North East Coast of Florida is the Jacksonville Local Branch Manager for He came to the First Coast via Puerto Rico where he spent two years helping to convert a traditional Yellow Pages company into a modern digital agency for the Caribbean.

He has devoted his career to helping small to medium size organizations succeed. His goal is to help clients achieve their goals. By doing so I can positively change lives, boost the local economy, create new jobs and ideas. Dan's daily motivation is to help make the plan and see it executed. Then I want to start all over again.

Click here for the full agenda and registration.

2015 Nonprofit Conference