Date on Honors Thesis

Fall 2016


**College of Education & Human Services**

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Peter Weber, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Adrienne King, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Marcie Hinton, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Jeff Osborne, Committee Member


Effectively communicating mission, values and social impact within the nonprofit sector is a complex task that can reflect on and shape organizational success. This research explores storytelling as a communication technique by developing best practices and writing advocates’ stories for nonprofit organizations associated with the United Way of Murray-Calloway County. Storytelling develops empathy and allows organizations to share success stories, acting as a springboard for future constituent and stakeholder engagement. By capturing the personal experiences of individuals, it provides evidence of organizational impact in ways that statistics cannot, and supports the organizations’ overall activities by improving fundraising, developing a brand and raising awareness. By drawing on a variety of sources from both practitioners and academics, this thesis identifies best practices for developing effective approaches to storytelling. The stories developed in the framework of this thesis focus on the specific impact each nonprofit organization has had on the advocate’s life, featuring the personal experiences of employees, volunteers and clients. The stories exemplify different approaches to storytelling depending on the nature of each advocate’s experience and align with the best practices of this research. The impact of these stories is analyzed using Facebook metrics and analytics tools to determine potential implications of storytelling through social media channels.