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What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

c5b6e3988d850226abfe6c614624b734-huge-re“Man is a storytelling animal,” writer Salman Rushdie has said on more than one occasion. “We tell ourselves stories to understand ourselves.”

What’s your story? What’s your organization’s story? What story does everyone at your organization tell? A best practice for connecting with your supporters is to craft stories that show the impact of your organization’s work and inspire your supporters to act. But this seemingly simple statement still leaves a lot of questions. How do you tell a good story? What kinds of stories are most likely to resonate with supporters? How do you even find these stories in the first place?

As a social good organization you can’t make up your own stories, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a story to tell. In fact, your major advantage as a social good organization is that you already have work which fits into classic storytelling themes – helping the underdog, fighting for good against all odds, embracing heroes who do anything and everything to help the people around them. All you need to do is find these stories. To do this, you need to create a culture of storytelling, make collecting stories a priority, and have a system in place for acquiring and sharing your stories.

While there is no formula for a perfect story, there are a few guiding principles that generally make a good story. A good story should always have a central character, a problem to solve, and a logical structure. In today’s multimedia world, stories are also a lot more than words. They also include images, video, design, and data.

Regardless of the format you use, your stories should also elicit some kind of emotion from your readers. (But this doesn’t have to be Sarah McLachlan sad-puppies-crying emotion.) Good stories stick with us because they make us feel something. The stories you tell should connect to deeper themes and speak to your supporters on a personal level. Storytelling frames the way that supporters see your organization, so you want to take advantage of this opportunity to connect your organization to something bigger than itself.

Our new Organizational Best Practices workshop, OBP: Marketing – Multimedia Storytelling, will give you the tools you need to find, tell, and share a great story. You’ll learn to tell compelling stories, not just through effective language but also through images, video, design, and data, that resonate with supporters’ motivations and inspire them to act.

What stories does your organization share to show its impact and connect with supporters? Let us know in the comments below.
Posted by Jocelyn Wright on Sep 19, 2019 12:43 PM America/New_York

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We share stories of our grantees, our donors, our legacy folks, our scholarships and our goals.
  • Posted Mon 30 Sep 2019 03:33 PM EDT
We are doing some research into creating videos to tell the stories of those that benefit from grants and events.
  • Posted Thu 03 Oct 2019 03:59 PM EDT
We did a story wall and kept it updated in our monthly newsletter. 
  • Posted Mon 07 Oct 2019 10:42 AM EDT
I like the story wall idea. These stories are your "data bank of value" to your donors.
  • Posted Tue 03 Dec 2019 12:41 PM EST
I took a session about storytelling at BBCON. It reminded me that no matter what you do in the organization you have to know how to tell your org's story. So learn how to tell it well!
  • Posted Fri 13 Dec 2019 09:49 AM EST
Good things to think about!
  • Posted Mon 16 Dec 2019 04:38 PM EST