[NPFX Ep. 59] Engaging Audiences with Effective Messaging & Storytelling — What Works on Tough Issues (with Brian Malte and Josh Gryniewicz)

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Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to empower nonprofits to succeed so they can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: Engaging Audiences with Effective Messaging & Storytelling — What Works on Tough Issues (with Brian Malte and Josh Gryniewicz)

Ensuring the success of your nonprofit hinges on effectively capturing and maintaining donor attention and support. But when tackling tough issues that may take years or even decades to solve, how do you sustain donor engagement for the duration? In today's episode, we delve into strategies for keeping donors engaged on hard-to-solve issues through the power of effective messaging and strategic storytelling.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts

  • Topic and guest introductions [1:19]
  • How to use a "story map" for strategic storytelling [8:50]
  • Listening is the key to crafting credible messages (includes an example) [10:24]
  • Part of effective messaging is lifting up solutions and providing communication tools to media and communities [13:51]
  • How "narrative" differs from "story," and what it takes to disrupt a narrative [16:39]
  • Strategic storytelling can help leverage philanthropic dollars for greater public dollars [17:38]
  • Using storytelling to make data and statistics more emotionally compelling [20:13]
  • Overcoming challenges to getting data and presenting it effectively [24:15]
  • How younger audiences relate to storytelling, and how to engage them authentically [31:23]
  • Should nonprofits tell other people's stories or allow people to tell their own stories? [36:03]
  • Consent and the risk of re-traumatizing a storyteller [36:55]
  • Takeaway lessons from the guests and host [40:07]

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Brian Malte is a nationally recognized leader in the gun violence prevention movement. In 2001, Brian joined the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, first as National Field Director, then Political Director, and lastly as National Policy Director, becoming one of the country’s most familiar spokesmen for the burgeoning gun violence prevention movement. In 2016 he returned to his California roots to helm the Hope and Heal Fund. He has been a featured speaker at many state and national conferences and routinely provides expert analysis to news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NPR and Mother Jones.

Josh Gryniewicz, founder of Odd Duck, a storytelling for social change consultancy, has spent his career in nonprofit. He served as the communication director for Cure Violence, an internationally renowned violence prevention program featured in the award-winning film The Interrupters. Josh helmed the rebrand of Integrate Health, a global health initiative in West Africa, helping increase their budget by nearly $1 million. Most recently, Josh led communication efforts for Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH), a program focused on national multi-sector data sharing to address social determinants of health. He is the co-author of Interrupting Violence, which comes out on July 2, 2024. 


Russ Phaneuf, a co-founder of IPM Advancement, has a background in higher education development, with positions at the University of Hartford, Northern Arizona University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management. As IPM's managing director & chief strategist, Russ serves as lead fundraising strategist, award-winning content creator, and program analyst specializing in applied system dynamics.

Rich Frazier has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. In his role as senior consultant with IPM Advancement, Rich offers extensive understanding and knowledge in major gifts program management, fund development, strategic planning, and board of directors development.


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