Published by the Meyer Foundation and the Center for Social Impact Communications at Stories Worth Telling Cover imageGeorgetown, Stories Worth Telling is a guide to strategic and sustainable nonprofit storytelling. Based on research in the nonprofit sector and showcasing a rich variety of nonprofit examples, the report was created with a commitment to practical tools for small organizations with modest – if any – resources devoted to storytelling.

“Powerful stories can motivate volunteers, engage business leaders, galvanize public officials and inspire donors,” notes Nicky Goren, president and CEO of the Meyer Foundation. The trick, it seems, is knowing just how to use a story to accomplish each of those specific ends.

Most of the storytelling resources available to nonprofits focus on the production and distribution phases of the cycle, while precious little available to organizations struggling to leverage storytelling as an extension of strategy. But savvy communicators know that storytelling requires leadership, not to mention capacity to collect and capture stories. Which is what we loved this visual overview of the lifecycle of a great nonprofit story:

Strategic Story Cycle Strategic Story CycleStrategic Story Cycle

Download this handy checklist from the report to guide your organization’s efforts throughout the strategic story cycle.

Bottom line: Every story needs a purpose. Be crystal clear on WHY you are telling the story, and hone the details and presentation of the story to that strategy. It’s critical that your story’s goal is matched to a clear call to action, to drive your audience toward your purpose. In other words, don’t just tell a story about your organization’s outcomes, tell a story toward your outcomes.

Images courtesy of Meyer Foundation 
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Holly MinchHolly MinchLightBox Collaborative’s founding partner, is a sucker for a story that advances smart strategy.