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Transform your organisation through stories

“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;

and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works”

Matthew 5:15–16

A not-for-profit or a charity is set up with an objective, be it to:

  • raise awareness of social issues that might otherwise go unnoticed

  • provide assistance to those in need who can’t get it from government or private sector sources

  • give a voice to communities

  • change lives and enrich them

Whatever your purpose, you may be meeting all you performance milestones, achieving your objectives and satisfying your funders.

But, outside of your stakeholders, who cares? Does anyone else know you exist and, if they do, are they interested? Will the bean counting data you put into your report to your funders be of interest to the wider world?

To get people interested in your organisation you need to tell them stories - stories that demonstrate why your organisation exists – stories about problems that have been resolved, communities that have been enriched and lives that have been changed.

You need to explain your purpose and achievements but need to do so in a way that engages your listeners and the way to do that is through stories. People respond to stories in a way that they don’t respond to cold facts and raw data. Stories have an additional element that helps people connect with you. That additional element is emotion.

Each of the people you work with is a story waiting to be told. They can humanise the purpose of your organisation by describing situations with which listeners can relate and that can help them understand the impact of your work and why it is needed.

Tell your stories through all the media available to you: your website, meetings, blogs, social media, newsletters. Invite your beneficiaries to tell their own stories in their own words. This will make your stories more engaging and authentic and help listeners to connect with your organisation.

“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” Native American proverb


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