Easy ways to collect your nonprofit's best stories

 Zan McColloch-Lussier believes in the value of collecting good stories -- vignettes about your organization's successes and opportunities that will inspire individual donors and grantmakers to give to your nonprofit.

In this video, he tells us that because we have so many channels of communication -- online, print, person-to-person -- the storytelling stakes are low. For example:

  • If a story is not quite punchy or powerful enough for the annual report, it can still be perfect to send around on Twitter.
  • A story you put on your organization's blog doesn't have to be as perfectly on-point as would the story that your organization's president uses as the opening of her speech to the UN.

In the video, Mr. McColloch-Lussier offers actionable steps that you can use to go get those stories. He tells us to:

1) Follow up with your colleagues immediately after they return from service trips, conferences or other places where they're likely to have encountered new stories. Their memories will be fresh and, especially if you remind them that storytelling can be low-stakes, they can give you the narrative for crisp, compelling stories!

2) Invite your colleagues to leave you long voicemails to share recent stories. You, as the development staffer, will type out these stories and put them into a format that can be used in a grant proposal, a tweet, a blog post or a fundraising letter.

Find creative ways to make it easier for everyone on your staff to collect and share stories about how your organization is making a difference!

For some examples of the types of stories you could be collecting, watch this video about the value of a public library in Saint Marys, Ontario. Thanks to Katya Andresen for telling the story of how these stories were collected! (How meta!)