NGO Training
Theresa Morrow
Bill Ristow
April 7, 2014
Maendeleo Foundation Training Centre
Telling your NGO’s story –
compellingly!
Good writing:
 Helps the reader identify with the subject
 Helps them see the r...
 Look around: What sounds do you hear? What colors
are in the room? What can you see that makes you
understand the person...
More examples
 Acan Grace seems to float when
she moves despite the fact that she
is usually toting her one-year-old
twin...
Make your story come alive
 What does she FEEL about her situation?
 How old is she?
 Where is she from, and what is it...
More writing tips
 Your story has a
purpose
 Show the problem OR
 Show the cause OR
 Show the impact OR
 All three
 ...
Let them speak for
themselves
 “BeadforLife brushed the dust off my soul.”
 “There was so much excitement during the Mob...
Your “people” file
 Collect quotes and visual material for proposals, annual
reports, PR, etc.
 Interview the people you...
Now, try it again
Go back to your earliest memory
Write about it again, using “show,
don’t tell”
What was happening aro...
Documenting your project
1. Concept note
Summary of who you are, what your project
is, and why it’s important
2. Annual re...
1. Concept Note (or Paper)
 What does it include?
 Context statement – Organization description, no more
than 300 words
...
Template
Contacts
Context statement
Problem
Goals and objectives
Activities to reach objectives
Innovation and susta...
Pre-reporting
 Before writing, research your own organization!
 Know your community – and their participation
 Know you...
Context statement
THIS IS WHERE YOU GET TO SHINE
 Anecdote – make it human!
 Crisp description of organization
 Be clea...
Context statement - example
Please give a brief description of your organization, including its
vision, mission and date f...
Presenting the
Problem
 Research
 Country details: population, economy, etc.
 Back-up info: Poverty statistics, employm...
Goals and Objectives
 Goal is broad purpose, objective specific
and measurable
 Goal: “Reducing the impact of natural
di...
Words in writing objectives
Use these …
 Decrease…
 Increase…
 Strengthen…
 Improve…
 Enhance…
Not these …
 Train
 ...
Writing about activities and
results
 Activities are what you
will do to accomplish
the project objectives
 Tip: Show th...
Results and impact
The result happens because of the activities:
 Activity: “X number of women participating
in training ...
Remember …
 Stick to the donor requirements
 Write a COMPELLING cover letter
 Short – a preview of what you will prove
...
Context statements: A review
 When you write your 300 word draft context statement
 Make it human
 Make it clear
Anecdo...
2. Annual Reports
 Opportunity to build your brand
 Advertises who you are
 Demonstrates your accomplishments and
your ...
Annual Report Includes
 Photos and captions
 Description of organization (history, etc.)
 Financial statements
 Object...
Annual Report: Make it
human
 Do you present general summaries of your work? Or do
you tell real stories about real peopl...
Connect to the reader
 Photos and captions
 Letter from executive
Financials: How the money
was used
 When reporting on fundraising the emphasis should be
on how the money was used, not t...
Financials: How it’s spent
Useful links
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/58072981/Straight-Talk-
Foundation-Annual-Report-2010
 https://www.beadforlife.o...
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[Net2 Uganda] Training for NGOs on how to share compelling stories of their work

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Yesterday's #Net2uganda #Meetup Training Event for NGOs on how to share compelling stories of their work went on well. The training was facilitated by two International Journalist Trainers from USA Bill Ristow and Theresa Morrow and it was hosted at Maendeleo Foundation Uganda in partnership with Mukono District NGO Forum and #Net2uganda
A great number of things were covered including writing tips as follows below:

-Yours must have a purpose
-You must use words that paint a picture of your story
-Use active words rather than passive
-Use short sentences
-Use contract
-Make your story clear

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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[Net2 Uganda] Training for NGOs on how to share compelling stories of their work

  1. 1. NGO Training Theresa Morrow Bill Ristow April 7, 2014 Maendeleo Foundation Training Centre
  2. 2. Telling your NGO’s story – compellingly! Good writing:  Helps the reader identify with the subject  Helps them see the real people you are helping  Puts a face with a story  Lets the community use their own words
  3. 3.  Look around: What sounds do you hear? What colors are in the room? What can you see that makes you understand the person better?  Pay attention to what your senses are capturing, think about which of those things help tell the story – and use them Telling: “Forrest Whitaker’s life changed when he played Idi Amin.” Showing: “Forrest Whitaker’s forehead wrinkled into a frown as he struggled to describe how his portrayal of Amin affected him.”
  4. 4. More examples  Acan Grace seems to float when she moves despite the fact that she is usually toting her one-year-old twins. The giraffe looked down at me, his big brown eyes as calm as the savannah evening.
  5. 5. Make your story come alive  What does she FEEL about her situation?  How old is she?  Where is she from, and what is it like there?  What does her little house look like? Does it flood in the rain? How many people sleep there?  How many other children does she have?  What color are the clothes that she is wearing?  What is her hairstyle like? MAKE ME SEE HER!
  6. 6. More writing tips  Your story has a purpose  Show the problem OR  Show the cause OR  Show the impact OR  All three  Words that paint a picture: She makes necklaces in the beautiful colors of the earth.  Use active verbs rather than passive: He burst into the room NOT He had entered the room  Short sentences  Use contrast  Make it CLEAR. If it is a complicated issue, illustrate it with people And mostly: READ IT ALOUD & have someone else read it
  7. 7. Let them speak for themselves  “BeadforLife brushed the dust off my soul.”  “There was so much excitement during the Mobile Solar Computer Classroom training at our library, and so many people flocked to the library with eagerness to continue with their computer skills. With Maendeleo’s help we now have 10 laptops connected to the internet and are able to provide valuable information to our library users and researchers.”  -- Daniel Ahimbisibwe, a librarian at Kitengesa Community Library When you are talking about something big, start small.
  8. 8. Your “people” file  Collect quotes and visual material for proposals, annual reports, PR, etc.  Interview the people you are helping to get their testimonials – and emotions  YOU CAN’T HAVE ENOUGH of these things!* *BUT make sure it is relevant to your project – and tell the people how you are going to use it
  9. 9. Now, try it again Go back to your earliest memory Write about it again, using “show, don’t tell” What was happening around you? How did you FEEL when it happened? Make me SEE the memory
  10. 10. Documenting your project 1. Concept note Summary of who you are, what your project is, and why it’s important 2. Annual report Market your NGO
  11. 11. 1. Concept Note (or Paper)  What does it include?  Context statement – Organization description, no more than 300 words  Problem & rationale: What you are trying to solve and specific issues you will address  Project goals and objectives  Strategy or activities– How you are going to do it. The steps. And also the impact by the end.  Innovation & sustainability – What is different about this project and how will it continue?  Financials
  12. 12. Template Contacts Context statement Problem Goals and objectives Activities to reach objectives Innovation and sustainability Financials Partnerships
  13. 13. Pre-reporting  Before writing, research your own organization!  Know your community – and their participation  Know your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)  Know your proposed budget – work it out  Know your donor!  Know your donor’s priorities and issues  Get the donor’s country strategy paper  Proposal guidelines  Previously funded projects & programmes
  14. 14. Context statement THIS IS WHERE YOU GET TO SHINE  Anecdote – make it human!  Crisp description of organization  Be clear about your project proposal & its impact on the community  Hook them in – you are advertising your project
  15. 15. Context statement - example Please give a brief description of your organization, including its vision, mission and date founded. At a small library in the village of Busembatia, an elderly woman sits at a computer next to a secondary school student. Using local-language software, the student reads instructions from the screen to the woman, who starts to giggle and then develops a huge smile as she starts writing, using a simple Paint program. It is not only the first time she has seen a computer: it is the first time she has seen her name written out. The mission of Maendeleo Foundation is to help bring the power of technology to the citizens of Uganda, a country where 87% of the people live in rural areas plagued with endemic poverty and only 9% of the total population has access to electricity. We overcome these challenges using an innovative mobile classroom, computers powered by solar energy, and our own teaching software, called emPower, that works with all 42 languages spoken in Uganda.
  16. 16. Presenting the Problem  Research  Country details: population, economy, etc.  Back-up info: Poverty statistics, employment, gender issues, HIV/AIDS stats, etc.  Definition  The cause and the effect Cause: No power in rural communities causes computer use to be inaccessible. Effect: Rural youth can’t get jobs, literacy slow,, etc.  Community perception of this problem – use “show, don’t tell!” “With computer knowledge, I have hope for my future,” said Opio. “I want to be a doctor but I’ll never get to University if I am not computer literate.”
  17. 17. Goals and Objectives  Goal is broad purpose, objective specific and measurable  Goal: “Reducing the impact of natural disaster over communities belonging to the hilly region”  Objective: “Provide housing facilities to earthquake-affected victims”  Include location and time frame for objectives
  18. 18. Words in writing objectives Use these …  Decrease…  Increase…  Strengthen…  Improve…  Enhance… Not these …  Train  Provide  Produce  Establish  Create
  19. 19. Writing about activities and results  Activities are what you will do to accomplish the project objectives  Tip: Show that the community identified the activities – not just you  Use numbers or a chart so they can be tracked easily  Monitor, monitor, monitor
  20. 20. Results and impact The result happens because of the activities:  Activity: “X number of women participating in training on gender development.”  Result: “X number of women aware of gender rights”  Impact: There will be less domestic violence …
  21. 21. Remember …  Stick to the donor requirements  Write a COMPELLING cover letter  Short – a preview of what you will prove  Use people affected  Show your impact  Demonstrate your innovative nature (not like anyone else)  Show sustainability  Be honest …  Use active verbs
  22. 22. Context statements: A review  When you write your 300 word draft context statement  Make it human  Make it clear Anecdote Crisp description of organization Clear about your project proposal & its impact on the community
  23. 23. 2. Annual Reports  Opportunity to build your brand  Advertises who you are  Demonstrates your accomplishments and your mission, your success and your vision  Use it to inspire new donors, and motivate current ones  Describe what you are doing, how well you are doing it, and the difference you are making in the world
  24. 24. Annual Report Includes  Photos and captions  Description of organization (history, etc.)  Financial statements  Objectives & activities  Reports on achievements and performance  Memberships and partnerships  Press coverage  Donor recognition
  25. 25. Annual Report: Make it human  Do you present general summaries of your work? Or do you tell real stories about real people?  Do you have masses of tables and numerical comparisons? Or do you humanise your statistics with individual profiles and examples from ‘the field’?
  26. 26. Connect to the reader  Photos and captions  Letter from executive
  27. 27. Financials: How the money was used  When reporting on fundraising the emphasis should be on how the money was used, not the detail of how it was raised.
  28. 28. Financials: How it’s spent
  29. 29. Useful links  http://www.scribd.com/doc/58072981/Straight-Talk- Foundation-Annual-Report-2010  https://www.beadforlife.org/en/about/annual-report  http://www.ngopulse.org/article/annual-reports- nonprofits-it-worthwhile-producing-annual-report  http://www.fundsforngos.org

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