2016 is here!
How did last year go for your organization? Did you reach your goals? Was your audience moved by inspiring, amazing stories? Did you get great results from the stories you told?
Reflecting is an important first step in the planning process. Today, I want to give you some tips for planning your stories for a successful, outstanding year.
Step #1 – Identify Your Opportunities for Storytelling
Pull out a copy of your fundraising or communications plan. If you don’t have one, then think ahead to what fundraising or communications initiatives you’ll embark on. Each time you have a touch point with a donor, it’s an opportunity for storytelling. This includes newsletters, direct mail, emails, social media posts, donor meetings, and so on.
What I like to do is make a big list of all of these opportunities in order to see all of the places I can tell stories. It also gives me an overview month-by-month of what stories I can tell. This makes it easy to coordinate storytelling across different channels or platforms.
Step #2 – Decide What Messages You Want to Convey
Once you have created a list of opportunities for storytelling, your next step is to decide what messages you want to convey over the course of the year. Typically this could be anywhere from 1 to 10 messages. 10 is on the high side. I usually like to recommend 1 to 2 message per quarter.
A message is the key idea that you want your audience to remember. In fundraising, this is often related to your call to action. The call to action is the thing you want your audience to do, and since this is often the most important piece of a fundraising communication, ensuring that your key idea supports your call to action is a must.
Step #3 – Find Your Stories
So far you know your opportunities for storytelling and your messages. Now you can decide what stories you want to tell. Your stories should work with where you are telling them, plus they should reflect your messaging. By that, I mean that your stories should illustrate the key message in action.
For example, let’s say your key message is something like: “Your gift of $5 can save a life.” Your stories should be about how that $5 can save someone’s life. That’s just one example. There are probably a lot of different stories that can effectively illustrate this. What I recommend doing is brainstorming as many stories as you possibly think of. Chances are some will be better than others. It’s also possible that some will be easier to find than others. In both cases, you’ll have lots of options to choose from. Plus, once you have an idea of what stories you’ll tell over the course of the year you can start to collect them now rather than waiting until the last minute.
Step #4 – Collate Everything Into One Calendar
After completing steps 1 to 3, my recommendation is to operationalize everything. The simplest way to do that is to put it all on one calendar. Print off a 12-month calendar from your computer, or purchase one. At the top of each month write down your key messages and stories you plan to tell. On the relevant days write in your opportunities for storytelling.
Those are four step that you can take to get organized and tell great stories in 2016.
Ready for more storytelling tips for 2016?
Join me on January 21 for a FREE Webinar!
How to Tell Great Stories in 2016
January 21, 2016 at 1 pm Pacific/ 3 pm Central/ 4 pm Eastern