Non-Profit PR: Gaining Visibility Through Storytelling

Image of a typewriter with an orange background, text that says “Non-profit PR: Gaining Visibility Through Storytelling”

By Stephen Taylor

The non-profit industry is full of selfless people. Some common attributes in non-profit workers are passion, kindness and activism. The goal of non-profit companies is for the benefit of society. As a public relations major, I can contribute to this goal through storytelling.

Storytelling humanizes a brand. By giving your company personality, you make it easier for people to connect with you emotionally.

A story is a combination of facts and emotions. Companies tend to focus on factual elements to be effective storytellers in the business sense, but you must also find a way to weave emotion into the narrative and bring your story to life. Any goal where the right message and content might make a difference is an opportunity for storytelling.

Storytelling is an extremely important basis for any company, but especially for non-profits. Non-profit organizations can evoke large amounts of empathy from their target audiences because of the nature of their work yet they may have very limited resources. 

According to a public relations website, Wild Apricot, “In the U.S., just over 2% of non-profits account for 90% of all revenue in the sector.” 

Not having the funds to run large marketing campaigns is largely due to poor storytelling. This leads to lower engagement and lower donor rates. An important way to combat this is to develop a storytelling strategy that aligns with the values of your brand. 

“Any goal where the right message and content might make a difference is an opportunity for storytelling.”

The first step to developing a storytelling strategy is creating guidelines to determine the story you want to tell. It is important to use language that describes what you want your company to be known for. 

For example:

Are you a loving and tender non-profit that helps save the bees?


Are you a stern and progressive non-profit that fights to save the bees?

Both of these address the issue of saving the bees, but the language used is entirely different. This is an opportunity to separate yourself from other companies. 

Brand Guidelines

The next step is building your brand identity statement. This is a company’s agreed upon way of how they present itself across all platforms. At its core, a brand guideline will outline what colors and fonts to use, as well as when to use assets such as logos or other art. An example is Asana, who fit their entire brand guide on one webpage.

A great brand guideline will outline how the company talks about itself. Think of it as the key message that will be woven into your storytelling piece. An example here is Urban Outfitters, who crafted a brand book detailing their mission and exemplifying their brand.

Gaining Visibility

After you have your key messages and brand cemented, getting your mission out to your target audiences is the next step. It is important to utilize the press. For newsworthy events or releases, having a good relationship with your local news stations can only benefit you. 

Prepare a pitch of what your company stands for so journalists get clear facts and information. Demonstrate a vision of how your organization benefits the public, and why it is important enough to be covered. Passion begets passion. If you are able to convince the journalist you are contacting to care about your cause, then you can develop a lasting relationship.

There are many opportunities to bolster your relationship with the media. Small actions such as sending a calendar of events or meeting for a meal can be mutually beneficial for all parties involved. Once you establish a strong relationship, it becomes much easier to generate visibility for your organization.

The non-profit industry needs more public relations assistance. Helping to connect passionate people to great stories is a public service. I hope to use storytelling and the public relations skills I have developed at Chico State to help heal the earth.

Is The “American Dream” Really A Dream If It’s Taken?

The past year’s election stirred up a lot of negative attention towards immigration in the United States. However, if it was not for the hard work and talent of many immigrants this country would not have half of the things it does now.

Based on an article from Business Insider, here are some examples of how immigrants have impacted America:


  1. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was born in Moscow, Russia, and emigrated here when he was 6 years old. Brin has an estimated worth of $24.4 billion.
  2. Do Won Chang, co-founder and CEO of Forever 21, moved here with his wife from Korea in 1981. Before Forever 21, Do Won worked as a janitor and gas station attendant. Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire, that brings in around $3 billion in sales a year.
  3. Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham F.C. and Flex-N-Gate, moved to the U.S. from Pakistan and worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan is the richest American of Pakistani origin and one of the richest people in the world.
  4. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and founder of PayPal. Grew up in Pretoria, South Africa and became an American citizen in 2002. Musk has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion.
  5. Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo, was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He moved to America when he was 8 years old, while only knowing one word of English. Yang has an estimated net worth of $1.15 billion.


Millions of people come to this country with hardly anything to offer, but they work hard to achieve the “American Dream.” The people mentioned above make me proud to have such a diverse and successful country, but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way.

The DACA program has been rolled back by Trump, which has directly impacted around 1.8 million DREAMers. People under the DACA program will no longer be able to renew their licenses to work legally in the U.S., which blocks them from being successful and contributing to this country. As a nation founded and built off of immigrants, I find this a little hypocritical.

Earlier this year, the Delta Iota chapter of Sigma Kappa at Chico State, was notified by our president that a fellow Sigma Kappa sister from MIT was blocked from getting back to school due to the travel ban. After hearing about something so disheartening, I began to feel embarrassed for our country.

Niki Mossafer Rahmati is a mechanical engineering major at MIT and served as the executive vice president for the Theta Lambda chapter last year at MIT. Originally from Iran, Niki holds a multiple entry student visa so she could go to school.

She is a hardworking students who is a member of a nationally recognized organization, and yet her origin was the ONLY thing that mattered when she was blocked from getting on a Boston bound flight.

Niki’s story is just one of hundreds that go unrecognized everyday. Hopefully this country can come together and take pride in our diversity, sooner rather than later. I mean, in all reality what would this country really be without immigrants?

Selling Fear: News Outlets Fail to Report Full Disaster Stories

The United States watched with sadness as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma grew and destroyed cities, homes and lives. Americans came together, stronger and more united than at any point in recent times, to help those affected and desperate for aid.

The damage is done and help is on the way but what now?

Donations are still needed and work has yet to be accomplished. However there is a deafening silence from major news providers on the aftermath of these hurricanes since they have landed. Headlines cited celebrities like Houston Texans star JJ Watt and actor Kevin Hart for leading valiant donation efforts, but Americans still know little of the current states of these affected cities. The round-the-clock coverage predicting near apocalyptic damage has dissipated without care for these cities’ rebuilding process.

No coverage of recovery can be found on CNN, Fox or NBC’s homepages. News of Hurricane Maria’s path through the Carribean followed about a week after Harvey and Irma. Secondary headlines cover White House drama, racism in America or continued nuclear escalation. This silence gives the impression that the news doesn’t care about these disasters they spent weeks warning the country about anymore.

Harvey and Irma have dropped from headlines, so audiences won’t hear much more news from these developments. These news outlets put reporters on live television in the middle of deadly storms but aren’t updating audiences on the communities now that the storms have passed.

This issue is certainly not new to these recent disasters. Many people still don’t know that parts of Louisiana never recovered from Hurricane Katrina, leaving broken communities and homes.

Only the directors of major news outlets can answer why coverage is only concentrated before and during disasters. With much fear and concern spread across the country, it only makes sense that the news should reveal truth and follow up on these stories. Americans want to know how these places are recovering.

News outlets’ reputations are under attack today, so the face of news should further address people’s real needs. The news business faces unique challenges and critique in its mission to deliver objective news. These outlets should combat this critique by following through with stories that affect the national community like these.

Reporting that focuses only on destruction and fear results in further distrust of mainstream news. News that people care about and agree with must respond to important human issues. Hopefully the future of news can appeal further to aspects that are important and what citizens truly care about.

Written by: Sean Daily

Five Ways to Conserve Water During a Drought

drought deficiency has had me in a steady state of anxiety for well over a year now, and things aren’t looking any better. Growing up in Northern California I have always been able to see our water sources first-hand. I’d see water flowing downriver driving up to South Lake Tahoe and when I’m enjoying boating on Folsom Lake. Now, all I see on trips to the lake is stagnant water with ever decreasing levels. Some people think the situation is helpless, but there are always ways to conserve water.

Turn off the water when you brush your teeth

It seems obvious, but I see so many people run the water while they aren’t even using it! It drives me crazy. When brushing your teeth, rinse the toothbrush, turn off the water, dab the paste and start brushing. Only turn the water back on when it’s time to rinse again. Simple right? Apparently not enough people think to do it, so check out this short tutorial by Thames Water for more insight. The same goes for doing dishes, turn off the faucet in between scrubbing plates and it can save gallons of water.

If it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow

I’m sure most people know exactly what I’m referring to, but I’ll go ahead and elaborate. Try not to flush the toilet if you don’t have to. Did you know that every time you flush a toilet it uses anywhere from 1.6 to 7 gallons of water depending on the model of the toilet? So unless you need to drop the kids off at the pool, try to avoid flushing.

Leave the ‘Wash Me!’ sign on your car

I love my car and it kills me to see it covered in dust, leaves and bird poop. But it hurts even more to use water to wash something that doesn’t really need it. There are conservative ways to wash a car, for example, fill a bucket up with soapy water, hose it down, scrub and rinse. But this is only necessary when your car is looking desperate for a wash.

Create a song queue for your showers

After a long day, a nice relaxing shower can be just the thing you need. But keep it to a minimum. Dilly dallying in the shower is a huge waste of water – get in, wash up, get out. I like to pick out two songs that run for a maximum of 10 minutes. That way when those songs are over, I know it’s time to turn the shower off and hop out.

It might seem like a lot of inconvenient sacrifices, but when everyone does their part it truly makes a difference. The WREC saves over 19,000 gallons of water a month by stopping the distribution of towels. Desperate times call for desperate measures and right now California is definitely in a time of desperation.

By Julianna “Jane” Eveland, Assistant Account Executive

Bottled Personality

Having a reusable water bottle seems like second nature here in Chico. Aside from the many benefits that come from reusable bottles, our water bottles show others who we are by how we choose to decorate them. Whether it’s a sticker repping your organizations or your favorite food spot in town, our bottles allow us to give people a glimpse of our personality.








Photo Credit: Amber Speciale

Some people may say that decorating your reusable bottle is purely to easily identify it, others may see it as a way to express themselves to those around them. Personally, I choose to decorate my reusable water bottles because it not only allows me to keep track of them, but it allows me to show people my personality and interests.








Photo Credit: Amber Speciale

Other than being a personal statement, reusable bottles have significant benefits. According to Ban the Bottle the five top benefits of a reusable bottle include:

  1. Better for our environment by reducing the amount of fossil fuels and toxins released into the air during production
  2. Durable, stylish and can help you decrease your carbon footprint
  3. Tap water is more cost-efficient, Bottled water can cost up to 500 times the cost of tap water
  4. Using a BPA and lead free reusable bottle is healthier for you and your family
  5. Convenience as most public facilities have water fountains to fill up your water bottle

Many people think these facts are common knowledge, yet millions of plastic bottles are purchased daily. Chico State students not only take their environment into consideration but also do it with style and personality.

unnamedPhoto Credit: Amber Speciale

Wanting to jazz up your personal bottles but need some inspiration? Check out this e-how article for some ideas to get you started. If you are trying to decide to keep your bottle clean and new looking, or adding some personal flare, make sure you have fun with it and play around with color, textures and different embellishments.








Photo Credit: Amber Speciale

by Amber Speciale, photographer & videographer

Recycle, It’s Easy!

So you’re walking around school drinking the water bottle you bought from the bookstore about an hour ago. You finish the water and go to throw the bottle in the recycle bin. Wait, where does that even go?

I found myself asking the same question, which made me want to do a little bit of research. Where do all the recyclables go? Why even recycle? How much am I actually helping?

Well, it turns out trash is the worst thing for our planet. Go figure. Trash that is thrown away is later sent to a landfill, which is piled up and pollutes our planet. Runoffs from these landfills pollute our water.

Here are some tips to make recycling easier around the home:

  1. Label your recycling bin with the recycle symbol numbers: This can help you and your guests remember what goes in which bin. I use this strategy at my house!
  2. recycling bin
    Photo credit: Sarah Schroder

  3. Clean your bottles and tins before recycling them: It will prevent flies and other bugs from traveling into your home while waiting to take the recycling out.

  4. Use plastic bags for recycling: This will prevent anything from ripping or leaking in your recycle bins.

  5. Use mason jars for everything: Mason jars are the most awesome thing! You can use them to store anything in your fridge, bathroom, kitchen, or even bedroom (depending on what you would like to store). They’re easily washed and last until you break one. Also, if you don’t want them anymore, they can be recycled!

  6. Recycle your batteries, CDs, print cartridges, etc. through Associated Students: A lot of people don’t know what to do with these items so they end up throwing them away. Visit the Associated Students Recycle Program at 417 Cherry St. and get rid of them there!

For more information on recycling and how you can help our planet visit the Associated Students or Earth Easy.