What is the common denominator across us all? We all have a story. Sometimes, we share a few quick facts to summarize the important points. Other times we dive, deep, into a specific experience in our life to remember a feeling or build trust with an audience.
Stories are core to the human experience and can be used as a powerful tool to connect with others. Social impact organizations can especially find value in storytelling as a way to build community, strengthen relationships or cultivate understanding – which are each extremely important in mission-driven work.
So what stories do you need for success?
As a local changemaker, you play a special role. You most likely live in your community. You see, first hand, challenges that are often overlooked by outsiders. And, with an idea of how to solve those problems, you gathered – or joined – the right people to take action and make a difference.
Be sure to reflect on your own story, and what drove you to join your social impact organization. Your story can help to show how empathy and passion propel your organization’s work forward. It can also help to highlight your unique value within the larger mission.
Your organization exists because it is filling a critical gap. You probably have begun to measure your impact through monitoring & evaluation – but those are just numbers. Do you know how people feel? Do they feel safer? Do they feel more hopeful? You might be able to use surveys to track changes in attitude over time, but it can be powerful to pair that data alongside a personal story.
Conduct interviews with those affected by your program(s) and work with them to gather details on how your organization has touched – or transformed – their personal story. Ultimately, your work most likely has dramatically improved lives – often in ways that might not be quantifiable. Be sure to highlight this!
As you may have learned in our fundraising course, fundraising is not just about giving money. A donor relationship is a partnership where both sides have something to gain. You may be giving donors the opportunity to drive change in the world. You probably also are giving them an opportunity to belong to a community and feed into something that is bigger than any individual’s work.
Talk to your donors and learn what motivates them to give to your organization. There is a good chance that other individuals also share the same interest or desire. Write a story that taps into this motivation and highlight how they felt when they contributed and built a personal connection to your mission.
Master the art of storytelling – in less than 5 weeks
Now that you know what types of stories that might be beneficial for your organization, learn the fundamentals of writing a great story with our free online storytelling course. Expert storytellers Storywallahs walk you through the four phases of writing an emotional and engaging story. We also give you advice on how to tailor your story’s style and format for any audience. Enroll today!
Share your powerful stories – about yourself, your organization’s impact or your donors – with us on Twitter or Facebook.