Looking for stories, understanding them, capturing them and sharing them requires a mindset as much as practical tools. It all starts with defining what’s right in front of you, and then working out from there. In an article on storytelling for the Fundraiser magazine, i created five very practical things you can do to take action and become the master storyteller that every fundraiser really should be.
- Find your story. You are the connection and the storyteller, so make sure you know your own story and can retell it. Write it down as a letter. Hone it into different versions, including a final short one. Find the emotional connection in your story to your cause and organisation, and relive it.
- Connect with your organisation’s story. Find the story of how your organisation came about, the people behind the organisation and their lives. What happened, and how did their story make your organisation possible? Find today’s stories, too – the ones that show the continuing work and passion of your founders.
- Build your toolkit. Start with your eyes and ears – use them! Then get your smart phone working for you with apps that help you make notes, tools that dictate and record voices, video and still image cameras that capture words and pictures. Alongside this, get a beautiful notebook, a pen and a clean page – and write each story down. Become a collector.
- Find ‘narrators’. Build a tribe of people who will actively find and collect stories. It will change the culture of your organisation into an active storytelling world. It involves and engages others, inspiring them and, in turn, becoming infectious. Create a place to store and share these stories. Study other charities and brands that get it right, and learn from them.
- Ask. Use the three perfect questions: 1) How did you get involved? 2) What’s your story? 3) How has this made a difference? These work equally on donors, volunteers, supporters and staff. They are open questions, and allow people to be natural. Prompt sometimes, but listen and capture – then share
For a more in-depth look at storytelling, read the longer piece in Fundraiser