Stepping Outside: Finding Powerful Voices to Tell Your Story

Pat Francis, from Craft3's marketing video J.P. Francis & Associates: Building the Future

Pat Francis, from Craft3's marketing video J.P. Francis & Associates: Building the Future

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of videos featuring interviews of an organization’s executive director or founder. If you are trying to create passion for your cause and build trust between your organization and your audiences, open the office door and take a step outside.

At the Gates Foundation, I searched high and low for a video featuring Bill Gates. I then went to Mercy Corps' site to look for a photo or video featuring their Chief Executive Officer, Neal Keny-Guyer. I couldn't find a video, so I clicked on About, then Team Members. I had to  scroll down to find Neal Keny-Guyer's photo and bio.  The first four Team Members featured were leaders in the field, in Columbia, Uganda, Liberia and Northeast India. These faces speak volumes about what Mercy Corps is doing on the ground and why they exist. This is why we donate. We trust the leadership, but we donate because of the outcomes.

We're in the process of telling stories for Craft3, a community development financial institution (CDFI). Over the past 20 years, Craft3 has provided more than $268 million in loans to 3,820 entrepreneurs, nonprofits and property owners. 3,820! That's a lot of people who could speak passionately about Craft3. We had a blast with Craft3, tossing around ideas for whose story to tell. We created spreadsheets with criteria and interviewed folks on the phone. We found an amazing group for their first set of stories: Lisa Sedlar from Green Zebra Grocery, Pat Francis from J.P. Francis & Associates, Chris Nemlowill from Fort George Brewery + Public House, and more. 

Lisa Sedlar, from Craft3's marketing video Green Zebra Grocery: Cultivating a Healthy Community

Lisa Sedlar, from Craft3's marketing video Green Zebra Grocery: Cultivating a Healthy Community

As expected, our picks were passionate and eloquent about why Craft3 matters. There are few people who can describe the ups and downs of starting a business better than Chris Nemlowill, a founder of Fort George Brewery + Public House, in Astoria, Oregon: “I talked to three banks and they all said, ‘Yeah, you’ve got the cash flow, you don’t have any equity in your company.’ And so we could not get a loan to expand.” Yet, he made it with help from a strong partner. Toward the end of his interview, Chris said, “A growing small business is a scary investment for a bank, so you definitely need companies like Craft3 to invest in local communities and make them grow. Without them, we would not be here.” 

That would sound a bit different coming out of the mouth of an Executive Director, don't you think? "Without us, this business would not be here." Insert cringe here.

Feature your Executive Director in a video if you need to:

  • Share important internal information with staff, Board members and audiences;

  • Tell the story about the organization itself: a major change in staff, or shift in strategy; 

  • Provide context and facts for a story and establish the support of the organization.

However, in cases where you want your members and your donors to see the great work you are doing in the world, spend time thinking through all of those people who benefit from your services. As viewers, we crave these personal, human stories. We start rooting for the hero. We want him to make it! We want her to succeed! We connect with them, and through them, we connect with you. 

Who is out there, waiting to tell a powerful story about you?

Hear Chris Nemlowill's tell the story.