A Storyteller's Toolkit from NTEN's 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference
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A Storyteller's Toolkit from NTEN's 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference

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Storytelling was the first technology and has driven technology over the centuries. Here's an approach to using this time-honored practice - the world's true oldest profession - to inform, engage and ...

Storytelling was the first technology and has driven technology over the centuries. Here's an approach to using this time-honored practice - the world's true oldest profession - to inform, engage and motivate your supporters.

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A Storyteller's Toolkit from NTEN's 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference Presentation Transcript

  • 1. A Storyteller’s Toolkit: 5,000 Years in the Making #11NTCStory Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Nonprofit Technology Conference Washington, DC March 18, 2011 Roger Burks, Senior Writer at Mercy Corps @loudmind
  • 2. Introduction Roger Burks Senior Writer Mercy Corps
  • 3.
    • The conveying of events through words, images, sounds, expressions and gestures
    • A way to reach out, connect and share something with others
    • The world’s oldest profession
    What is storytelling?
  • 4. Another important definition Technology is the usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose.
  • 5. What is storytelling? Storytelling = the world’s first technology
  • 6. What is storytelling? Throughout history and humanity, storytelling has evolved and driven invention.
  • 7. The Storyteller’s Toolkit And that’s because, within each one of us, we’ve always had the basic tools we needed to share stories with each other.
  • 8. It’s personal
    • To tell a truly compelling and memorable story, you need a personal:
    • Reason why you write (credo)
    • Connection to the subject
    • Connection to yourself
    • Connection to your audience
  • 9. It’s personal: heart and mind
  • 10. Personal connection to the subject
  • 11. Personal connection to the subject “ The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • 12. Personal connection to the subject
    • Preparation
    • Gather the tools that will serve you best in getting the story you need.
    • Do some research on the situation or topic you’re about to cover.
    • Come up with a list of 9-10 questions that will inform – but not limit – your interview.
  • 13. Personal connection to the subject
    • Observation and attention to detail
    • What are the details that capture you? Write them down, right then.
    • Take note of details not just during, but also before and after the interview.
    • Your own thoughts and feelings are important details.
  • 14. Personal connection to the subject
    • Don’t approach it as a job, but as an opportunity
    • This is your chance to meet and learn something about another person.
    • Genuine interest breaks barriers.
    • Your own curiosity makes for good interviews and sustained interactions.
  • 15. Personal connection to the subject Think of it more as a conversation than an interview.
  • 16. Personal connection to the subject
    • Use pen and paper as part of the process
    • “ The act of writing gives physical form to thoughts.”
    • Easier to transcribe subtle details, observations and feelings.
    • A notebook of your interviews and notes is permanent and tangible.
  • 17. Personal connection to the subject
  • 18. Personal connection to yourself
  • 19. Personal connection to yourself “ I’ll know my song well before I start singing.” Bob Dylan
  • 20. Personal connection to yourself
    • You know a good story right away
    • It hits you square in the chest or in the gut.
    • You remember a lot of the story without looking at your notes.
    • You absolutely can’t wait to tell it.
  • 21. Personal connection to yourself
    • Write (somewhat) how you speak
    • Authenticity of voice
    • Conversational quality and tone
    • Ability to develop your own style
    • Feeling for readers that they’re connecting with your cause or organization on a personal level
  • 22. Personal connection to yourself Get it all out there at once – edit and filter later.
  • 23. Personal connection to yourself
  • 24. Personal connection to your audience
  • 25. Personal connection to your audience
    • Show, don’t tell
    • Let the words come from the conversations that you’ve had.
    • Bring the reader along with you; show them what you’ve seen.
    • Don’t be afraid to show the reader how you felt.
    • Bring unmistakable passion and commitment to your stories.
  • 26.
    • Give them familiarity
    • There are a few classic, key elements to most every compelling story:
    • Main character/protagonist
    • Sense of place
    • Emotional connection/empathy
    • Conflict
    • Resolution
    • Like any good story, a good nonprofit piece is an engaging experience for readers.
    Personal connection to your audience
  • 27. Personal connection to your audience
    • Be the stories you tell
    • Establish yourself as a consistent, trustworthy voice for your organization.
    • Be a dependable storyteller and source of stories for your colleagues.
    • Lend your storytelling voice to your cause or organization’s social media efforts.
  • 28. How Mercy Corps is doing it
  • 29. Empowering storytellers throughout the organization Blog launched in May 2009 April 2010 March 2011 436 blog entries 876 blog entries 134 bloggers 225 bloggers 30 countries 41 countries
  • 30. Training staff to be storytellers
  • 31. A variety of stories to capture a variety of experiences From a recent mercycorps.org content inventory: Beneficiary or client story Autobiographical piece Field visit Personal reflection Staff profile/interview Program update News update Emergency update Photo essay Photo with long caption Audio slideshow Video with long caption Rough video Stand-up video Polished short-form video Polished long-form video Video interview Event- or campaign-driven video Written travelogue Technically-focused piece Poem
  • 32. Using stories in social media and fundraising appeals
  • 33. Stories endure and make a difference
  • 34. Thank you! Roger Burks Email: rburks@mercycorps.org Blog: www.mercycorps.org/rogerburks Twitter: @loudmind Download the toolkit: http://bit.ly/storytellerskit