Frogloop Guest Post: 4 Tools to Help Any Nonprofit Tell Stories Online

by Amy Sample Ward on August 28, 2011

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My guest post is up on Care2’s Frogloop blog; you can read the post and join the discussion there
or read the entire post copied below.

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Whether you are part of a nonprofit organization, an action campaign, a local community, or a school, you know that it is through stories you can showcase your work, change people’s minds, inspire them to make change, or join you to make a difference. As we all continue exploring the vast horizons of the internet and the social tools it offers, be sure to check out the applications that help you continue telling stories with the power of video, maps and more. Here are four that currently have my vote – please share yours!

1. Historypin

Historypin is a new (and free) application for Android, iPhone, or the web that arranges photos, videos, and text in the context of time and location (leveraging the Google Maps API). Ever since it launched earlier this summer, I haven’t been able to stop using it both to learn and to share. For example, when I travel to a new neighborhood or city, I open the app as I walk down the street to explore photos and stories of my exact location across history. I also have been taking photos of buildings and locations and sharing them back to the community to continue documenting the world around us. The potential for how organizations can use a tool like this is endless – the ability to easily and accessibly put together your stories and content with the locations where it all takes place is so exciting! Be sure to check it out for yourself or watch this video to take a tour.

2. Animoto

Animoto isn’t a new tool, but it is still in my top five. And for good reason: I love tools that help make quality content and storytelling something that all of us can create. With Animoto, you can put together photos, slides, and text with audio and video to create a compelling story from all the various elements you may have created separately or gathered at an event. There are terrific examples I’ve seen, like Epic Change’s Tweetsgiving campaign video, and you can previous more examples on the Animoto website. Bonus: nonprofits can apply to get Animoto Pro for free!

3. Posterous

When it comes to sharing stories, we all have our preferred methods of how to post, and where, and even who to share with each time. Posterous is a blogging tool, that is really so much more. You can, as with traditional blogs, have a site that shares your posts with the world. You can also create groups to share privately across a team, and organization, or a network. Plus, you can add authors to a blog to be sure it isn’t just you that’s responsible for posting. The best part is that you can post in a manner of ways: from the platform, from your email, from your phone, etc. This way, you can build community amongst your volunteers with a private group for sharing lessons, build momentum during a campaign with all your organizers posting to one stream, or create a dynamic blog for your organization with all kinds of media and posts. Oh, and it even has auto-posting so when you’re spending your time creating change, you don’t have to remember to cross post to Twitter! Check it out and see if it’s right for your team.

4. Storify

Have you been to an event or conference where many people were tweeting highlights from speakers and taking photos, but then when you searched for the content there was just SO much of it? With Storify, you can search across multiple social platforms and pull together the content that’s of interest, as well as add additional text, to create a story (whether it’s a recap of an event or a chat, or highlights from the news) that’s shareable and includes voices from across the community. You can also use it to pull together content you and your organization have shared across the web to tell the story of your work. You do need a Twitter account to use it. Even if you don’t have an event or campaign going today, try out Storify with a topic of interest or just use “#nptech” to pull together content from the nonprofit technology sector. Give it a go!

5. Bonus: Instagram

I couldn’t include this one in the main list since Instagram is only available for iPhone users at this time, so I’ve added it as a bonus. I am an Adroid user, but all of my friends with iPhones have great feedback about this application that allows you to take photos, apply filters, and share all from your phone. There are also complimentary tools like Tweegram to add Twitter text to your Instagram timeline. I definitely think there’s potential here for building out features and opening up the application, as with anything, if the community calls for it. So join me in saying, “I’ll try that, please!”

Looking for more resources for turning your organization’s stories into digital engagement? Want to check out examples from other organizations already testing and learning? Be sure to visit TechSoup Global’s digital storytelling section for webinar archives, blog posts, and chat archives!

What are your favorite tools or tips for telling the story of your work and impact online? Be sure to share links to the tools you love so others can check them out!