It is more important than ever to tell our stories of impact

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In her blog, Hannah our Impact and Evaluation Worker, explains why it is more important than ever to tell our stories of impact and gives some handy tips on how to do it.

The history of storytelling goes back thousands of years and is integral to our humanity. From drawings on a cave wall dating back to 15,000 BC through to stories told today using the most up to date digital wizardry - essentially the purpose of telling a story remains the same. It is through these stories that we share our world with others presenting the opportunity to challenge, affirm and educate. This is never more needed than now. 

Globally, we have been affected by coronavirus and while the early narrative was that the virus did not discriminate the last six months has shown consistently that society does. Through sharing our stories of impact we have the opportunity to challenge inequality, stand alongside our communities and to raise awareness of what is needed and can be done to enable people to thrive.

In July I attended a virtual festival hosted by Charity Comms on the art of authentic and honest storytelling. It was a great opportunity to listen to a range of organisations reflect on how they are using stories to get people to engage with their causes and I wanted to share some of these pointers with you;

  • When planning your story think about how to connect with your audience. What do you want them to think, feel or do after they have engaged with the story you have put together.
  • Understand your audience’s perspective. Make sure that you check how your story is received. When telling people about things that are “normal” to us we can often assume people will understand what we are trying to say without considering their perspective or knowledge on the matter. Don’t assume people will be moved by the same things you are, your message needs to be right for them.
  • Consider what success looks like and how you would measure it. It is important to know if you have got it right so you can make adjustments to your story if needed.
  • Use stories to empower others. If your objective is to mobilise others to action consider your tone and take the opportunity to demonstrate not only the issue but also highlight solutions and how they can get involved. 
  • People are interested in people…it can be really powerful to use real-life case studies in the stories that we tell to help bring the subject to life. Make sure that the person whose story you are sharing is involved, understands how you will use their story and is happy with what you are sharing. Incorporating their voice and supporting them to tell their own story can be incredibly empowering if they are happy to do this.

We are currently bombarded with news in which journalists tell the story of problems during this difficult time but there is another narrative. Every day I hear stories of hope from our sector. Stories that demonstrate creativity, deep understanding of communities, sensitivity and respect. I want to challenge you to be a storyteller of impact providing a roadmap of change, celebrating success and championing the positive messages of what can be achieved when we stand together.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Hannah Barton, Impact and Evaluation Worker

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