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Storytelling: Your Most Powerful Tool in Nonprofit Marketing

April 20, 2021
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Zoom Meeting


$10 - AFP Members (open to all AFP members)
$20 - Non-members


8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. - Presentation/Q&A

About the Program


We all want to be part of an epic story where we are the hero. We have wanted it since we were children reading bedtime stories with our parents or watching our first films on the Big Screen. We are the central figure in our life’s epic of breakups, successes, failures, and adventure. However, when your nonprofit markets itself, it can’t be the hero. The people you serve and your donors must be the hero; the nonprofit is just the guide. Your organization is the Obi-wan, and they are the Luke Skywalkers. In the presentation, filmmaker Dan Parris breaks down the elements of a story and how your nonprofit can use this powerful tool to draw current donors deeper into the mission and attract new donors.

Using examples from organizations like Charity Water, When the Saints and Almost Home, Dan makes a compelling argument about how understanding story and who the hero is changes everything about our nonprofit marketing. You will dive into story structure and how that can be persuasively applied to blogs, podcasts, email blasts, promotional videos and virtual fundraisers/events. We will talk about the importance of character, conflict, and calls to action when it comes to the work your organization does and talk about tips on how to communicate this well. The talk will be interactive, and you will leave the presentation understanding how the 5 parts of a story apply to the organization you work with and the story you all are compelling donors to join.

This session has been approved for 1 CFRE point.

About the Speaker


Dan Parris

Speak Up Studios

Dan Parris is an award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of Speak Up Studios, a St. Louis based video production company specializing in non-profit storytelling. Their past clients include Parents as Teachers, St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, UMSL, SLU, The Salvation Army, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri Baptist Healthcare Foundation, Wings of Hope and Deaconess Foundation, to name a few. Speak Up Studios has helped nonprofits raise millions through the use of video and storytelling and are passionate about the collective impact happening in our region. Dan also directed the feature-length documentaries Show Me Democracy and What Matters?, was the closing speaker at TEDxGatewayArch and co-founded the non-profit, Continuity, whose mission is to expand diversity in media production. Dan lives in South City St. Louis with his wife and 4 kids. 


About the Format

Upon registering, you will receive an email with the Zoom meeting details.  If you don't receive that email, please don't hesitate to contact us at [email protected].  Please check your spam folders first!

We use the Zoom platform.  You will want to download the Zoom software before the meeting time.  Upon entering the meeting, please be sure that your microphone is muted until you want to talk in order to cut down on interference between your speakers and microphone.

We can utilize chat and the "Raise Hand" function during the meeting.  

The meeting will be recorded.  Presentation documents (in PDF form) will be distributed after the meeting.


$10.00 AFP Member

$20.00 Non-AFP Member