Jake Byers, Director of Marketing and Communications
Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa
The overall impact of community foundation grants across our state is impressive, and of course we all share our large impact numbers with our audiences. This shows our scope and is a big picture view of how together with our stakeholder partners we make a difference in the counties and communities they love. What sometimes gets lost in these big numbers is the smaller and often more impactful story of what a grant truly means to the organization receiving it. Providing the stories of grant recipients and how a grant helped them make a specific difference in their county or community gives stakeholders, including donors, advisors, and other nonprofits, something they can relate to in an emotional and tangible way. The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa shares these stories across our communication platforms to put a human face on the numbers.
Making grants living, breathing things through storytelling is an important part of CFNEIA’s communications efforts. The stories are gathered through grant reports, collaborations with other staff and affiliate community foundation volunteers, one-on-one sit downs with grantees, or just getting a simple impact quote through email (make sure you have a photo). This content creation in some instances can be time consuming, but by repurposing our content across channels we get more mileage out of these stories. Our highest engagement on Facebook comes when a story, that often was created for print and then added to the website, is posted for an even broader audience. We believe in the impact of storytelling and continue to invest in plans to generate more content shared through new mediums such as video and other social media platforms.
Ultimately, these stories show, on a personal level, how CFNEIA uses the resources entrusted to us to enrich our communities. We believe by creating an emotional connection to grant projects, donors feel good about their generosity and people who may not have understood the community foundation philosophy are inspired to share their resources.