Published by Peggy on 09 Apr 2010 at 05:05 pm
It’s time to get back to basics: storytelling. A key strategy for conveying messages powerfully, drumming up support, and inspiring action. Can you harness the storytelling tool?
I was just sitting in an excellent panel session this morning at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) called “Creating a Culture of Storytelling“. Michaela Hackner from Forum One, Jay Davis from Equality California and Roger Burks from Mercy Corps shared how compelling stories inspire action and change.
Storytelling has been around as long as the human race has had language, spoken or gestured. People want to describe experiences that others did not have, in order to share wisdom with or sway the collective. But what defines a well-told story? How can you involve your community in developing the stories?
Telling your story is empowering
Everywhere you go, you see stories. Stories help us think, feel and care. Michaela Hackner shared the incredible work from MercyCorps and Charity Water, who have done an amazing job involving their staff and community in the storytelling. They demonstrate that stories do bring return visitors and supporters.
@sladesundar: #npstory everyone in your organization should be collecting stories! thats how you build a culture of storytelling.
Good practices to develop stories
Roger Burks shared three mantras to remember while developing stories:
- Encouragement, not pressure
- Authenticity, not polish
- Quality, not quantity
They also shared a checklist of questions to help identify if the story you develop has good potential: is this a story you would tell? Does the story have a heartbeat? Is the story transformative? Does it sound like us? Does it have an expiration date? Will it make the reader want to do something?
My 8 Takeaways
- Don’t underestimate the importance of authenticity. It is a means of empowerment.
- It is not about quantity, it is about quality. It is better to have nine or ten truly great stories than many mediocre ones. You need a few core stories.
- Find the stories that are already there within your community.
@gijp: “Look for stories that already exist – from your supporters, staff, on Twitter. Don’t reinvent the wheel. #npstory #10ntc”
- People relate to people, not to programs.
- Don’t underestimate the potential of your staff. They are storytellers too.
- Remember the three mantras.
- Storytelling should be a part of an organization’s culture.
- The content is important, but voices are critical!
Photo Source: Tnarik
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