Which Story to Share? (G.R.E.A.T. Stories)

Sometimes we have so many strong stories available that it’s hard to select the best ones to feature in a specific campaign. At other times, it seems impossible to source the right story or find a fitting one to harvest from the story bank. I’ve been there.

Luckily, there’s a proven, two-step solution to both problems:

  1. Pinpoint what your people need to understand about your organization’s focus (problem or cause), and about your solutions and impact.
  2. Select or find a story that provides those answers.

This approach works even if the problems or causes you focus on, or the solutions you use, are complex. The right story—of people overcoming obstacles and moving forward—will showcase your focus and answer crucial questions in relatable and accessible terms. In fact, this kind of vibrant, relevant, and repeatable storytelling is a benchmark of G.R.E.A.T stories.

Here are the three main story types to use, and the answers each typically provides:

OUR IMPACT: Before and after. Shows the impact of your organization (and, by extension, your supporters) on the communities and individuals you serve.
– Answers: Does this work?
– Answers: Where will my dollars go?

OUR PEOPLE: Donor, staff, volunteer, beneficiary profiles.
– Answers: Are people like me doing this?
– Answers: What do others think about this organization/program/campaign?

OUR STRENGTHS: How your organization’s specific approach increases impact.
– Answers: Does this organization provide a more effective solution than other organizations?

Additional story types

  • Our Founding: What makes this organization unique?
  • Our Focus: Where will my dollars go?
  • Our Future: What is the change we want to make in the world, a.k.a. vision?

When you are clear on the questions you need to answer, source and build out a few stories of each relevant story type. Use these stories in coming campaigns and test the response (e.g., launch an A/B test with one version of a campaign email featuring a relevant, answer-revealing story and the second version featuring a classic (story-free) narrative appeal.

I’m betting that your work identifying the answers that prospects want and sharing those answers via the right story generates quick comprehension buoyed by emotional connection. And, in time, will motivate the action you need, whether a donation, registration, or petition signature. Let me know!

Remember to take these 7 Steps to Ethical Storytelling as you select, shape, and share each story.

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Nancy Schwartz in storytelling | 0 comments
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