Have you ever wondered what the basics of non-profit storytelling are? Wished someone had created a short guide to understanding what storytelling is? Fret no more, friends!
This week’s blog post features the ABC’s of non-profit storytelling – everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more. Enjoy!
A is for Audience – Create an audience profile to gain a better understanding of who you are telling stories to.
B is for Believable – Your audience may not be able to easily relate to the story’s subject, which is why you have to make the subject seem more believable and credible. Share details and emotions that might allow the audience to relate to the subject.
C is for Culture – Organizations who foster a culture of storytelling internally have an easier time telling stories externally.
D is for Detours – A straightforward story is great, but everyone wants to know about the conflicts, challenges and detours your hero had to take along the way.
E is for Events – A great forum for live storytelling is at events. But – be sure to script and rehearse ahead of time to avoid any unwanted surprises during the event!
F is for Form – To easily collect stories from staff members, board members, volunteers or clients. Include key contact information as well as a couple of open-ended questions to help them write down the key parts of their story.
G is for Goal – Know what your goal is in order for your story to be as effective as possible.
H is for Hero – The centerpoint of every great story is a hero the audience can connect with and root for.
I is for Interesting – It’s much better to keep a story interesting for your audience than trying to write something that is simply pleasing for your organization’s executive team. Remember: they aren’t your real audience.
J is for Jokes – Because sometime storytelling doesn’t have to be so serious!
K is for Knowledge – Part of the brilliance of storytelling is that you can impart knowledge to your audience in a more interesting way. So, what is it that you want them to know?
L is for Love – The emotional magic of stories is that they pull at our heartstrings and make us fall in love with the story’s subject.
M is for Music – If you’re using video to tell a story, music can enhance your audience’s emotional experience of the story.
N is for Newsletter – A perfect place to feature and share stories online with your audience. Put a shorter version of the story in the actual newsletter and provide a hyperlink to a longer version on your website.
O is for Opinion – Be sure that your story’s subject has an opinion and point of view that is all their own. You don’t want them to just be a sound bite for your non-profit.
P is for Pictures – Every great story needs a great picture, too! Creative Commons, Flickr
Q is for Quotes – Using direct quotes from the story’s main subject is a powerful way to clearly incorporate their voice into the story.
R is for Rewrite – Because no one gets a story right on the first try, not even professional writers. Sometimes you won’t be able to see the most important aspects of your story until you’ve written it and reread it. Then you’ll be able to intentionally draw out the pieces that are most impactful.
S is for Strategy – The most successful storytelling organization have a storytelling strategy in place that supports their fundraising and communications goals.
T is for Types – There are many types of stories that you can tell. It doesn’t always have to be a story of client triumph.
U is for Understanding – As you tell a story, you are trying to bring your audience around to a new way of understanding the world and themselves.
V is for Video – A more dynamic and engaging way to tell a story.
W is for Website – A central place to feature your best stories. Consider featuring a dedicated page for stories that have written stories and pictures, or video.
X, Y and Z. . . .
Well, it appears that I’m 3 short of the full alphabet! If you can come up with three terms to complete the end of this alphabet, please share your brilliance in the comments below!