Creating A Culture Of Storytelling from NTEN's 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference
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Creating A Culture Of Storytelling from NTEN's 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference

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We know that storytelling is the most powerful way to get your organization's message out there, heard and remembered. We know that compelling stories inspire action and change. But how do you get ...

We know that storytelling is the most powerful way to get your organization's message out there, heard and remembered. We know that compelling stories inspire action and change. But how do you get your organization to commit to storytelling?
In this session - a continuation of last year's Better Online Storytelling panel - we'll explore successful, specific techniques to get your organization started finding and telling its best stories. From stories to emails, blogs to social media, you can create a culture of storytelling.

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  • Great stuff Roger. Thanks for sharing the journey of your organization. What an inspired message and process.

    We should connect sometime! Check out www.getstoried.com or download free copy of my storytelling manifesto for change-makers - www.believemethebook.com, you can reach me on twitter @getstoried
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  • Welcome!

Creating A Culture Of Storytelling from NTEN's 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Creating a Culture of Storytelling Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Nonprofit Technology Conference Atlanta, Georgia April 9, 2010 Roger Burks, Senior Writer at Mercy Corps
  • 2. Introduction Roger Burks Senior Writer Mercy Corps
  • 3. Review: Basics of online storytelling
  • 4. Storytelling is a way to reach out, connect and share something with others. We share with friends and family how our days were, how we felt, who we met, things we found out and other interesting pieces of information. We are made from stories – storytelling is at the heart of the human experience. Review: Basics of online storytelling
  • 5. Stories connect us all. Studies show that you have only 56 seconds to convince an online reader that they should read more and stay on your website. Your job is to connect readers to a name, a face and a story as quickly as possible, so that they’ll stay and take action for your organization. And people relate to people, not programs. Review: Basics of online storytelling
  • 6.
    • Action is at the heart of what we do - it’s the step that connects our constituents to those we serve. And stories inspire action.
    • Stories help us get that anonymous person sitting behind a computer screen to take action. But we first have to make them:
    • Think
    • Feel
    • Care
    • A good story is remembered long after it’s read, and creates a relationship.
    Review: Basics of online storytelling
  • 7.
    • Checklist for identifying a good
    • story
    • Is this a story I want to tell?
    • Does the story have a heartbeat?
    • Is the story transformative?
    • Does it sound like us?
    • Does it have an expiration date?
    • Will it make the reader want to do something?
    Review: Basics of online storytelling
  • 8. Review: Basics of online storytelling
    • Three important points to
    • remember before you start building
    • your culture of storytelling
    • Stories have to come from your heart before they will go to people’s heads.
    • If you’re just going through the motions – don’t.
    • It’s better to have nine or ten truly great stories than 100 mediocre ones.
  • 9. How to build your culture
  • 10. How to build your culture
    • The Five Ws (and One H)
    • In journalism school, one of the first
    • lessons we learn is the basics of
    • information gathering:
    • Who?
    • What?
    • When?
    • Where?
    • Why?
    • How?
    • This is how you get the full story on
    • something. These are also the questions
    • you should ask as you build your culture
    • of storytelling.
  • 11. How to build your culture Who… … is your champion? … is your core group of writers and contributors? … is your audience? … needs to buy in?
  • 12. How to build your culture What… … are your stories? … are your opportunities? … are your challenges? … is the skill level and time commitment of your writers and contributors?
  • 13. How to build your culture When… … do you plan to add and update stories? How often?
  • 14. How to build your culture Where… … will you post these stories? … will you promote these stories?
  • 15. How to build your culture Why… … will this benefit your organization?
  • 16. How to build your culture How… … do you get started? … do you keep it going?
  • 17. What a storytelling culture can look like (and how it can change)
  • 18. What a storytelling culture can look like OUR CHALLENGE With four writers on staff, frequent staff contributors and stock from excellent freelance photographers, Mercy Corps was able to put together human interest stories, in-depth special reports and feature sections that rivaled high-end magazines. The problem? Most other staff was scared away from contributing anything at all.
  • 19. What a storytelling culture can look like OUR RE-EVALUATION: Focus on how our staff can participate more with limited time, training and access to technology.
  • 20. What a storytelling culture can look like OUR REALIZATION: The content types we were offering on our website didn’t create enough opportunities for our diverse worldwide staff, made up of a variety of technical experts – and 95 percent host-country nationals.
  • 21. What a storytelling culture can look like OUR SOLUTION The Mercy Corps Blog “ A daily look into the work, thoughts and ideas of our team around the world” Launched May 2009
  • 22. What a storytelling culture can look like OUR PITCH Q: So what should I write about? A: What are you passionate about? Ask yourself: Is this something I’d tell someone who doesn’t work for Mercy Corps? What are the things that make you excited about your job? Something interesting – or funny – that you come across in the course of your day? Your perspective on a current event or issue that has something to do with Mercy Corps’ work?
  • 23. What a storytelling culture can look like
    • OUR PITCH
    • Some ideas for blog posts:
    • Field reports
    • Commentary on a news story you’ve read
    • News about a grant we’ve been awarded
    • Book review
    • Publicity for an upcoming event
    • A new innovation or idea that we’re using
    • Personal observations
    • Beneficiary story
    • Link to YouTube video (with short introduction)
    • Photo with long caption
    • This blog exists to help readers experience who we are and what we do through the words of our staff across the world.
  • 24. What a storytelling culture can look like
    • OUR RESULTS
    • Already 436 entries in less than a year
    • 134 unique bloggers from 30 countries
    • Highly technical, topical and timely
    • Bloggers can post their entries directly to the website, into a moderation queue
    • (I have written 62 entries for the blog.)
  • 25. What a storytelling culture can look like
    • OUR RESULTS
    • Recent disasters in Indonesia, Samoa and Haiti have been our first test of real-time emergency blogging
    • 18 field correspondents
    • 98 blog posts about Haiti from 29 bloggers
    • Frequent updates encourage return visits (and possible donations)
  • 26. What a storytelling culture can look like “ Your Facebook page and web site has kept me up to date much faster than the standard media seems to have done. I've just been looking around the net for information and you were right there.” – Darcy Sholts, a comment on the Mercy Corps Facebook page
  • 27. What a storytelling culture can look like
    • EFFECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
    • Links to the Blog have become our main social media strategy – an extension of our storytelling culture.
    • Since January 12, we have gained:
    • 11,000 Facebook fans
    • 1,800 Twitter followers
    • More than $20,000 in donations through social media-sourced links
  • 28. What a storytelling culture can look like Don’t underestimate the potential of your staff as an audience. If your staff read your stories on an ongoing basis, you have a better chance to turn them into storytellers.
  • 29. What a storytelling culture can look like
  • 30. Conclusion
  • 31. Conclusion
    • How to get your colleagues to tell their stories
      • Lead by example – every cause needs a champion.
      • Offer a short training session or a brief, easy-to-use set of guidelines.
      • Get together with potential storytellers for coffee, lunch or a drink to talk about ideas and discuss the stories you think your organization should be telling.
      • Set the bar low – but not too low – to make getting started much simpler. Make it easier for your organization to succeed right away.
  • 32. Conclusion
    • Three mantras to remember
      • Encouragement, not pressure
      • Authenticity, not polish
      • Quality, not quantity
  • 33. Thank you! Roger Burks Email: rburks@mercycorps.org Blog: www.mercycorps.org/rogerburks Twitter: @loudmind