Stories are powerful: Our brains are literally wired to take in and preserve stories. Done well, stories often drive us to take action.
So how do you tell stories well?
Today, there’s an ever-growing list of platforms and content strategies elbowing for space on an already-crowded stage. There have never been more ways to reach an audience, but it’s harder than ever to really get their attention.
Enter Storytelling for Good.
Storytelling for Good was designed by Hattaway Communications and Threespot with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation with you, a foundation or nonprofit leader, in mind. You are a storyteller. And through Storytelling for Good, you can learn how to tell meaningful stories that resonate.
Storytelling for Good will help you and your organization plan and execute a storytelling strategy—giving you the tools, resources, and case studies you need to become a storytelling organization from top to bottom.
So, how does it work?
You can choose to Learn or you can choose to Explore.
If you choose to Learn, you can start with bite-sized interactive lessons centered on Strategy, Content, Engagement, and Evaluation. These lessons pose questions that will help you build your own customized storytelling practice. We recommend starting with Strategy, but you can pick your own storytelling route.
If you’d rather Explore, you can browse a wide selection of How To guides focused on sharing stories on platforms ranging from Facebook to Email, or you can dive into Articles that share storytelling best practices or real life case studies showcasing examples of storytelling done right.
Stories change behaviors. And by extension, that means stories can change lives and help social sector organizations achieve real, meaningful progress. Let’s get started.
Check out the FAQ below and feel free to email us with your ideas (or questions) at Email: info[at]comnetwork.org
Which lesson should I begin with? Is there a sequence?
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to storytelling. If you are just getting started, we recommend checking out the Strategy lessons first. These lessons covering audiences, objectives, and overarching narratives will build the foundation for your storytelling strategy.
We encourage you to browse the lessons and see what may fit your needs the most.
What is a story?
“A story starts with a person who, in some way, shape or form, is not content with the status quo. They want to change something, get something, give something, they need to change the status quo in some way, so this sets them off on a journey. Along the way they’re going to run into various barriers and obstacles. How they deal with those barriers or obstacles will reveal things about their character, or the character of their organization.
In the end they will either obtain this thing that they were going for, or not, but there will be some change in them or the world as a result of this journey. That journey, hopefully, will have meaning not only for them but for us, the audience, as well. To me that is what a story is all about.”
The above quote comes from Andy Goodman’s interview, On Storytelling, in the Winter 2018 issue of Change Agent, The Communications Network’s print journal for social sector communicators. The whole thing’s worth a read.
What it a story not? It’s not your mission statement. For all the good they do, missions statements are causing us to stumble when telling stories about our work. We’ve all shared the experience of receiving a canned response when asking someone—especially someone who works for a nonprofit—what they do for a living. How many times have you heard a response like “My organization’s vision is to...”?
Read this article on what makes a compelling story.
How do I know that my stories are working and creating impact?
Tracking your story’s progress with accurate, consistent, and quantifiable metrics can build a strong case to leadership for investing time and resources into your future storytelling efforts.
With our Evaluation lessons, learn how to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics for your stories, see how others are evaluating their storytelling efforts, and explore a variety of tools to measure the reach and engagement on social networks.
If you are a Member of The Communications Network, continue the conversation in the Members Community. Interested in joining The Network? Learn about membership options here.