In Tip #1, I shared one question to avoid asking when you are interviewing someone for their story. But that leaves us to wonder – what questions should we ask?
There are a million different questions one could ask when collecting a story. They are all dependent on the individual and the type of story that you want to collect. This week, I want to look specifically at collecting stories from program staff.
Collecting Stories from Staff Members
One of the challenges of collecting stories from staff members is getting them to share the good stuff. You know what I’m talking about – that juicy story that you know donors will love.
Instead, we are usually given a less robust story and have to keep digging to find the hook. While I know that it’s tempting to blame this situation on your fellow colleague, it’s just as much your creation.
Here’s the thing – if you have not given your fellow staff member crystal clear direction as to what story you want, you’ll probably not end up with the story that you need.
You can provide colleagues with training to learn how to identify a good story and understand the importance of storytelling. But the easier solution is to give them prompts.
Give Staff Members Prompts to Get the Story
Do you remember way back in elementary school when you would get creative writing prompts during your English class? Those prompts told you what you needed to write about and give you clear direction. You can take this same approach to collaborating with fellow staff members to collect stories!
Here are a couple of example story prompts:
> Tell me about a time when a student vastly improved their grades in your class. Maybe they went from a C student to an A student. What catalyzed their change?
> Last week was a busy week at the animal shelter. Did you meet any families with young children who came into adopt their first pet?
> I heard that you were doing a creek clean up as a part of our conservation programs. Do you have any passionate volunteers who have come to multiple creek clean ups this year? What keeps them engaged as a volunteer?
As you can see in these example story prompts, they touch on both the conflict and the resolution of the story. That will help get others thinking about specific instances during their workweek and they are more likely to tell you a story that mimics the prompt.
One way to get these prompts out is to send an all-staff email one or twice per month. I recommend just sending one prompt at a time to avoid overwhelming your colleagues with requests.
Stay tuned for Thursday’s post – we’re going to discuss how you can create your own story prompts!
I’ve been receiving a ton of questions lately about story collecting and plan to create more resources and blog posts on this topic. Would you take two minutes to tell me about your story collecting challenges?