As nonprofit tech innovator Beth Kanter points out in her intro to this useful interview, storyteller Holly Stevens is a natural blogger. Many of the same interests and talents that make Holly a master storyteller, make her a strong nonprofit communicator. She’s passionate, she’s focused and she knows how to put her skills to work to motivate dialogue on difficult issues.
Stevens sees strong similarities in how blog and storytelling audiences relate to content. Here are her tips for nonprofit bloggers:
- Practice inductive writing, in which the particular experiences of the writer is shared first, and the wisdom that came of the experiences comes later. That way, your readers can participate vicariously in the experience; they might come away with an entirely different new kernel of truth that the writer expresses, but it is still much more of a shared experience.
- Blend personal narrative with broad social commentary, the way Barbara Kingsolver tells stories. She might start off with a remark her daughter made after a morning in kindergarten, and the remark gets her going about what it means to be patriotic, and how she feels robbed of her identification with the American flag.
- Craft your blog post to make for good reading aloud.
BTW, in her own blog, The Story and The Listener Online, Holly publishes two guest essays each month which explore, “the role of story and narrative in peacemaking, healing, bridge building and reconciliation processes in communities around the world.” Here are some recent examples:
- Andre Heuer talks about the emerging ethic of storytelling for social change among young storytellers
- Laura Simms shares her storytelling adventures with the Gypsy children of a small town in Rumania, the focus of a charitable organization she created
- Quaker storyteller Sarah Malone writes about her not-for-profit venture, The Peace Tales Project, which uses storytelling as an agent for peacemaking.
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