Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Once upon a time there was a woman who loved to hear about people’s lives!
One of the wonderful things I love about working with volunteers over the past 25 years is having the privilege to listen to their stories. Maybe its because of my love of a good tale that I also like to bring stories to life in a range of different ways.
Story telling is a really effective tool that engages the reader and can help convey an organisation’s message to a wider audience. For charities a well structured story can bring home the impact of your work to potential donors. For businesses a well constructed case study demonstrates your professionalism and leading edge in your field.
Across any sector by using story telling rather than dry facts and figures in your marketing, PR and fundraising campaigns you will find it easier to focus your messaging. So how do you set about writing a good story?
Firstly, have you thought about who you want to reach and why? Perhaps your charity wants to highlight a specific aspect of its work. Or maybe your business has a new service that it is launching. Consider what you are trying to achieve with this content and who are your potential audience.
It may be that your campaign has been inspired by a particular event or success. However, think carefully about who’s story you are going to tell. If your charity works with children or vulnerable people, you must consider their safety.
The key to gathering interesting stories is to have all your staff, volunteers and stakeholders on board with the idea – they will be your eyes and ears. Although, in my experience volunteers are very humble and never like to blow their own trumpet! Take time to explain why their story will meet your organisation’s mission.
Social and digital media give you a much wider number of outlets to tell your story. You may want to consider a number of different versions of the same story – for instance following your customers journey from not only their point of view, but your sales and dispatch team. Or for charities you can include a wide number of stakeholders stories in blogs, videos, leaflets or your annual report.
The happy ending is that if you are looking to inspire donors to give and or want to develop your case study portfolio, storytelling is an effective and useful tool.