When I started interning at the Ad Council I had no idea that it would one day lead to me to starting my own nonprofit organization. I also had no idea how much storytelling was such a vital part of good advertising.
Stories can make you care about, well, anything. A photograph, a building, a shirt, a business plan—anything. With so much pressure to broadcast through the noise on social media, getting a nonprofit organization’s story out there can be extremely difficult. When it comes to stories, you have to tell amazing ones to be heard at all. The web is saturated. There’s so much noise that only the best story will win. There’s no room for mediocrity. Sadly, too many nonprofit organizations are left with amazing stories and not enough resources to tell them effectively.
The fact of the matter is that many community-focused organizations are simply too busy keeping themselves running to craft a finely tuned story. That’s a problem the Ad Council solves on a daily basis. After I left the Ad Council, I decided to help those organizations too.
I joined Google+ and, a year later, I had amassed over 700,000 followers. How? Well,
I blogged about whatever I wanted—my life, tech, LGBT issues, etc. It was fun. It was
inspiring. But at a certain point you realize that with a great audience comes a great
responsibility. I had already gotten a job from my online presence and moved from the East
Coast to the Best Coast, but I felt it was time to help out others now that I had established
myself. I got an idea that eventually got the name The LittleBigFund.
Taking a page out of the Ad Council’s notebook, The LittleBigFund is, at its core, a
storyteller. We work with three regionally-focused nonprofit organizations a month, telling
their stories, promoting their cause and ultimately delivering assets for them to use in the
As we’re telling stories, people donate small amounts of money to form a big fund.
They then vote on which nonprofit they feel would use the fund the best. At the end of the
month the organization whose story resonated the most with the donors receives the entire
fund. The donors feel like they made a huge impact with a small action, and we continue
to gather stories from the organization who received the fund thus giving donors tangible
results. The reward is the story and empowerment it gives—not a tote bag.
Just like that, less than a year out of college, I became the CEO of a nonprofit organization
answering to a board of directors and employing developers. The Ad Council truly prepared me not only to work, but to care.
The LittleBigFund has started taking nominations for nonprofits to support! We launch in June, and our first month’s theme is LGBT. We know that you have organizations that you’re passionate about helping, so be sure to let us know!
About Carter Gibson
Carter is back guest blogging for AdLibbing! In 2011, he interned with the Ad Council in Campaign Management. Since graduating college Carter has become a recognized Google+ authority on a variety of topics (notably LGBT and advocacy issues) with over 900,000 followers.
In addition to sharing everything about himself, 22 year old Carter used what he learned at the Ad Council to start his very own nonprofit in San Francisco called The LittleBigFund. His organization tells the stories of nonprofits, raises money through individual donors, and then lets the donors vote which organization receives the fund.