Happily Ever After: Nonprofit Storytelling Resources

Nonprofit Storytelling Resources

Our July 23 @ 4 Program put a number of nonprofit storytelling resources into the hands of local nonprofit professionals. Our attendees laughed, shared and were happy to discover that they are in fact using some recommended storytelling practices, like story banking.

Storytelling Resources for Nonprofits attendeesThe biggest take away from the program? Stories motivate, connect, teach, resonate and give meaning to our lives.

Storytelling Resources for Nonprofits program

Nonprofits have a role in telling our good stories to potential donors, volunteers and our communities, so that they can share in our successes.

Check out the slide deck, resource notes, annotated bibliography and then, let us know if you have  questions about nonprofit storytelling resources.

Storytelling Resources for Nonprofits

Storytelling for Nonprofits Resource Notes

Click the Book images to go to the ACPL catalog and place a hold

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause “Spread Your Message Further by Telling Great Stories” Chapter
By Kivi Leroux Miller
658.8 L56N Business and Technology

  • All that and on a bag of chips: anyone can tell stories anywhere
  • The Challenge Plot; The Creativity Plot; The Connection Plot
  • Six Qualities of a Good Nonprofit Marketing Story
  • Resources for finding your organization’s freshest stories
  • 10 tips for creating stories through interviews
  • Privacy implications and suggested practices
  • Ideas on where and when to tell stories
  • Serial storytelling to bring readers back

Storytelling as Best Practice: How stories strengthen your organization, engage your audience, and advance your mission.
By Andy Goodman
658.45 G62S, 2008 Business and Technology

  • Written to help nonprofits and foundations tell our good stories using human voice and toning down jargon and slang
  • Storytelling for presentations
  • Story Banking – collecting personal stories of folks; recognizing good stories, fact-checking, cataloging, even employing a “Tell us Your Story” online submission
  • Identifying good stories, how to listen better, 7 questions to sharpen stories, more
  • From free-fange thinking newsletter

“Give the People What They Want”

  • People are hardwired to respond to stories
  • Individual stories are more convincing than sets of data
  • Stories bring the individual and abstract to life
  • The viral marketing of ideas depends first and foremost on stories (container for transmitting a story)

Story Banking Resources (PDFs) from FamiliesUSA.org:

Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising, 2nd ed.
By Cheryl A. Clarke
361.7 C55S, 2009 Readers’ Services

  • Devotes a chapter to the Letter of Inquiry, or your organization’s short story
  • The opening hook, introduction of characters and the setting
  • “What” the antagonist is and how to develop this character
  • Introducing tension and conflict to the plot
  • Goals and objectives as partial resolution
  • Evaluation and future funding as epilogue and sequel
  • Translating the narrative using the budget numbers
  • “Marketing” the proposal with the summary and subject headings
  • Storytelling as “live theater” during site visits
  • Applying proposal writing skills to general fundraising
  • Writing exercises, in-chapter examples, two sample full proposals

Nicolas Kristof’s Advice for Saving the World” on the Invisible Children Blog

  • “[People] intervene not because of stories of desperate circumstances but when we can be cheered up with positive stories of success and transformation.”
  • “Storytelling needs to focus on an individual, not a group.”

The New Community Anthology: Digital Storytelling as a Community Development Strategy by Mamie Marcuss, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

  • Discusses three Boston programs teaching digital storytelling
  • Develop literacy, oratorical, and technological skills
  • Bridge generations around community story
  • Tell organization success stories
  • Train the trainer, further mobilizing supporters and constituents

WeAreMedia Storytelling Page

  • Resource: “Blogging and Storytelling” presentation and notes by Britt Bravo featuring 11 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Blogs
  • Resource: “Video Storytelling and Strategy” presentation and notes by Michael Hoffman

Message Matters: Succeeding at the Crossroads of Mission and Market
By Rebecca K. Leet
658.408 L51M Foundation Collection

  • The Message Matrix can be used share your story with your storytellers

Storytelling Bibliography

Telling the Story: Writing for Print, Broadcast and Online Media
Brooks, Brian, George Kennedy, Daryl R. Moen and Don Ranly
808.06607 T23 Readers’ Services

This textbook-style book covers all the basics of journalistic writing – including sections on storytelling, techniques of narration and other various styles of media writing. Each chapter contains various tips, examples and exercises to develop writing skills. The book also includes a Multimedia Journalism Simulation CD-ROM companion.

The Big Idea: A step-by-step guide to creating effective policy reports
Duitch, Suri with Kathleen McGowan and Carl Vogel
808.06632 D88B Readers’ Services

Broken down into six chapters, this guide offers tips on researching, preparing and writing easy-to-read-and-understand reports using basic journalistic principals. The authors break out Hot Tip and Information boxes in each chapter for quick note, as well as Worksheets for brainstorming and editing; Case Studies; and Resource boxes for additional outside references.

Listening is an Act of Love: A celebration of American life from the StoryCorps project
Isay, Dave, ed.
973.92 L69 Readers’ Services

The StoryCorp project has been collecting stories and memories from Americans of all ages and backgrounds across the country since 2003 to preserve for future generations. This book contains the edited transcripts of 49 selected stories from ten thousand recorded StoryCorp interviews.

Telling True Stories: A nonfiction writers’ guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University
Kramer, Mark and Wendy Call, ed.
808.06607 T23 Readers’ Services

An anthology of original works from 51 writers of narrative nonfiction, this book covers writing topics ranging from style to subject. The editors also include introductions to several sections offering tips and suggestions for every stage of writing. The guide additionally contains suggested reading, internet resources and brief biographies of the featured writers and book’s editors.

Corporate Legends & Lore: The power of storytelling as a management tool
Neuhauser, Peg C.
658.45 N39C

This four-part book gives suggestions on how to utilize storytelling as an effective management tool, and features storytelling scenarios as well as actual stories to use for developing leadership, connecting individuals and fostering change in an organization.

How to Tell a Story: The secret of writing captivating tales
Rubie, Peter and Gary Provost
808.2R82H Readers’ Services

Through writing advice, step-by-step tips, exercises and examples, the authors examine aspects of strong storytelling and offer some keys to writing a compelling story – fiction or nonfiction. The appendix includes steps to writing a book proposal and a sample proposal.

Story Structure Architect: A writer’s guide to building dramatic situations & compelling characters
Schmidt, Victoria Lynn, Ph.D.
808.3SCH5S Readers’ Services

A writing blueprint offering details on how to draft, structure, embellish and add finishing touches to any story. This book offers steps in each section for creating short stories, novels, scripts or plays, and contains over 50 scenarios for characteristic plot themes.

The Story Factor: Inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling
Simmons, Annette
658.45 S14S Business and Technology

This book attempts to illustrate how storytelling can be used as a tool for successful business and effective communication. Using personal anecdotes and outside examples, the author identifies six story types used, which she contends are often more persuasive and motivating than just the facts and figures.

Reaching Audiences: A Guide to Media Writing
Yopp, Jan Johnson and Katherine C. McAdams
808.066302 Y8R, 2003 Readers’ Services

The third edition of this three-part book guides the reader through components of general media writing, information gathering and more tailored media writing styles. The sections are broken down by chapter, touching on topics and tools for writing to a specific audience. Each chapter concludes with exercises and detailed references. Three appendices include “abused words,” as well as answer keys to the grammar, style and math exercises.

Our online bonus resource, not discussed in the program:

– Lettie

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