How to Tell Stories that Get Results - Toronto NetTuesdays


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Not all stories are created equal. As non-profits, we’ve got many stories to tell but which ones should we be telling? Do you have hundreds of stories to choose from and aren’t sure which ones will elicit the kind of action you are looking for? Or, do you struggle to dig one up for each campaign?

Not all stories will give you the results you are looking for. To help you find your best stories, we will review the fundamentals of storytelling to uncover what elements make the most powerful stories. Then, through examples, we will look at the two most important types of stories a non-profit should be telling – the ones that actually result in action!

We’ll then brush upon how you can use this key information to help you find and revise your great stories and how you can keep them alive over time through your online communications channels and throughout your organization to create the biggest impact.

This presentation was originally given at TechSoup's Net Tuesday event by Lisa Horvat from Strategic Storytellers -

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  • How to Tell Stories that Get Results - Toronto NetTuesdays

    1. 1. The Right Story @ The Right TimeLisa Horvatlisa@strategicstorytellers.comTwitter: @lisahorvat
    2. 2. Story TestNational Health Organization(2 random 300K email groups)• Version 1: General institutional approach outlining the org’s accomplishments & need• Version 2: Personal approach around story of 1 young person diagnosed with debilitating disease M+R Strategic Services 2011
    3. 3. The Personal Story Trap
    4. 4. Fundraising Stories• Explaining stories –build trust with your org• Donor-centric stories –compel individual to act
    5. 5. Explaining StoriesNesting season for sea turtles isalways fraught with danger fromthreats like entanglement infishing gear and habitatdegradation. But this year, seaturtles must also face the falloutfrom the worst oil spill in history.
    6. 6. Explaining StoriesGetting caught in fishing gear isbad enough. But this year, seaturtles faced a much morehorrifying threat: Dirty, sticky oilfrom the worst spill in history.
    7. 7. 100K Homes
    8. 8. Yonge Street Mission
    9. 9. Donor-Centric StoriesYour membership gift right nowcould decide whether we see newfederal assaults on equality andnew bans on same-sex couplesmarrying – or whether millions ofcouples will have their loverecognized for the first time.
    10. 10. WWF-Canada.
    11. 11. invisiblePEOPLE
    12. 12. Storytelling Tips• Use explaining stories to – Get people interested in you, your issue – Bring statistics to life – Get people to want to know more
    13. 13. Storytelling Tips• Use donor-centric stories to – Get people to take action – Get donors to see themselves as a part of the story – Place your donor in the story or tell the story of someone your work helps that your donor can relate to
    14. 14. Storytelling Tips• Bring something unexpected to life – Make sure it is memorable – Be genuine – Needs to be at a human scale – Is it compelling enough to be spreadable? – Make sure it ‘shows’, leaves a visual imprint
    15. 15. Find The P.H.A.T.Passion – Does the story have enough passion to engage the emotions of the target audience? – Are the stakes high enough? Is it authentic?Hero – Does the story provide a clear point of view?Antagonist – Are there obstacles that confront the hero?Transformation – Does the story have the power to change the life of the audience in a meaningful way?
    16. 16. BooksMade To Stickby Chip & Dan HeathStories That Sellby Casey HibbardImproving Your Storytellingby Doug LipmanSquirrels Incby Stephen Denning