Telling your story


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This presentation was given during the NeighborWorks Training Institute in Washington D.C.

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  • The “mission’” - the big picture. “What do you do at…”These tools can be used for any type of storytelling. Now we will look at the elements needed to tell a good story.
  • This story is smaller than the big picture, but just as important – the “little picture.” It’s about our customers and their stories.
  • List how stories are currently being shared formally or informally
  • Additional storytelling resources
  • Telling your story

    1. 1. Telling Your Impact Story December 11, 2012 Washington D.C NeighborWorks Training Institute
    2. 2. PresentersAlexandra Chaikin Sarah Parmenter Online Media, Community Building andPublic Relations division Organizing Program
    3. 3. Agenda for this Workshop• Why stories matter• Who cares about our stories• Elements of good storytelling• Practice writing• Feedback
    4. 4. Introductions• Your name• Name of your organization• Your role in organization• A story (novel, tv ad, video) you think is powerful
    5. 5. “Stories are more convincing than setsof data…numbers numb, jargon jars,and no one ever marched onWashington because of a pie chart.” Andy Goodman Story Telling as a Best Practice
    6. 6. Why Stories Matter• For millennia, humans have told stories to help us convey important messages/morals to one another• Marketing is modern storytelling. It’s used to convince people to spend money and/or take particular actions• Nonprofits can use stories to convey the effectiveness of their work and to motivate others to join the cause
    7. 7. Audience• Who needs to hear your story? – Community members – Board members – Funders – Local and national media – Policy makers
    8. 8. What Makes a Good Story?• A good storyteller makes the audience feel like s/he is part of the story• A good story leaves the audience ready to take action• Your work in the community leads to great stories every day.
    9. 9. The Power of OneWhile we want totell how we affectchange for all of ourclients, a singlestory is morepowerful than agroup of lessdetailed stories
    10. 10. The Power of One - continuedEduardo used We taught 20knowledge from our VS. foreclosure preventionforeclosure classes to classes in 2012 thatrenegotiate his helped 52 residentselderly mother’s save their homes frommortgage and she foreclosure.can now remain inthe home she’s livedin for 25 years.
    11. 11. Story Length• Stories don’t have to be long to be powerful. Think of Nike’s “Just do it” slogan or Apple’s “Think Different” campaign.• What matters to a story’s effectiveness is how the audience feels after reading it. Addressing four core story elements can make a powerful story in only one paragraph.
    12. 12. Four Elements of a Great Story1. Hero2. Obstacle3. “Magic Tool”4. Happy ending/Outcome
    13. 13. Story ExampleThe Collins family becamehomeless after single-momMonica Collins lost her job inEast Waco, Texas. However,with the help ofNeighborWorks Waco’financial education classesand job counseling services,Monica has found a new joband an affordable apartment.Monica’s sons Bryson andJames have gone fromgetting Cs to As in school.
    14. 14. Practice Writing StoriesThink of a client your organization has helpedand let’s practice turning their story into apowerful message that will resonate with yourkey audiences.
    15. 15. 4 Steps for Powerful Stories1. Describe the hero-client2. Describe the obstacle3. Describe how your organization provided a “magic tool” to empower our hero4. Describe the happy ending for our hero (and the community)
    16. 16. Writing Your Story: Step 1• Describe the hero – Tell about the family/individual so we can actually “know” them—for example, married, retired, Latino, three children, single mom, new to the community, disabled family member, etc.
    17. 17. Writing Your Story: Step 2• Describe the obstacle – Be specific about our hero’s situation. It doesn’t have to be a long description, just one that will feel familiar to the audience. Ex: natural disaster, job loss, community violence, poverty
    18. 18. Writing Your Story: Step 3• Describe how your organization empowered our hero – Tell about the products, services, knowledge, experience, and/or resources you used to address their situation. – What unique gifts or assets did you offer that they may not have found elsewhere?
    19. 19. Writing Your Story: Step 4• The happy ending. Say what happens to our hero (and the community, if appropriate) – What was the outcome for the hero? A new home? New skills and confidence? – Tie the hero’s success to broader success in the community. Ex: Martha’s community garden now serves 50 residents, providing them with fresh carrots, beets and other nutritious vegetables.
    20. 20. Where You Can Share This Story• Newsletters• Annual Reports• Website, blogs and social media• Staff/board meetings (case studies)• News articles and press releases• On the walls and reception areas of your offices•
    21. 21. Examples of How to Share a Story Grant Social Proposal Media Website Social Media
    22. 22. Feedback• What did you think of this exercise?• How will this workshop affect the way you tell stories going forward?
    23. 23. APPENDIX
    24. 24. Resources• Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs• Nonprofit Storytelling• Using Storytelling to Engage and Motivate Constituents