Home > Articles > Story Gathering in 5 Easy Steps

Story Gathering in 5 Easy Steps

For nonprofits, content curation is about gathering and leveraging the small internal stories that are emblematic of your nonprofit’s impact. When collected, carefully crafted, and shared, these small stories can be used to effectively tell your nonprofit’s Big Story: how your nonprofit changes the world.

Step 1: Identify.

Storytelling is always about the audience, which you must clearly identify. It may include current stakeholders, or the people and organizations you want to transform into stakeholders. Focusing on your Big Story, seek out stories that will resonate with the target audience.

Step 2: Collect.

Develop a storytelling and story-gathering culture within your organization: encour­age all your people to ask questions, listen closely, and get contact information for follow-up questions. Make sure they know what details are important to record. Collect as many stories as you can that demonstrate your impact on your clients, your community, your city, or the world.

Step 3: Organize.

Create a story bank. Collected stories have little value if they can’t be easily searched, selected, and developed. Use whatever technology your budget will allow. (You can keep track of all the major details with a simple spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs.)

Step 4: Develop.

The entries in your story bank will need work. If your nonprofit serves clients directly, you will find undeveloped stories about how one of your programs helped a specific client—a transcription of some on-the-spot testimony, for example, or the results of a beneficiary survey.

Wherever you share your story, remember that it’s not just social networking—it’s serious marketing.

Someone in your organization, or an outside consultant, must take that raw material and package it for easy sharing—turning a testimony into a profile with some follow-up questions, or a survey answer into a results snapshot with a relevant photo.

Step 5: Lead.

Wherever you share your story, remember that it’s not just social networking—it’s serious marketing. Each time you share a story, it must lead your audience to your organization’s website, front door, or bank account.

The nonprofit that tells the best story succeeds. That’s how you spark genuine passion in your audience and motivate them to make your nonprofit organization a part of their personal story.

Wilton Blake is a storytelling consultant and curates Storytelling for Nonprofits at scoop.it. Find him at www.WiltonBlake.com

Subscribe to GCN Articles RSS