best practices

Read stories about the same topic to compare good versus great

Sometimes it helps to see what not to do. 
Workshop participants often want examples of great stories but in a perfect world, they would have great and not so great examples of the same thing back to back. Comparisons are much more revealing.

Here is a story I stumbled upon.  Read the caption version first and then the article.

  • Version A: at the top of the page is the photo version story. There are 10 captions that tell a succinct story.  The protagonist (father) finds the linchpin (Stanleys) and they work together for the beneficiary (Charlotte).
  • Version B: the body copy of the article shares a lot of detailed back story, paints an entire landscape (legislation; perspectives of various doctors), and never offers a place to focus.

Don’t mix education into your story with a heavy hand.
As a nonprofit, make sure that when you tell a story you don’t also try to educate your audience about your complex landscape. Do that afterward. You can keep your stories short and powerful like version A. You don’t even need the photos to see why it is the superior version. If version B told a story up front and then dove into the legislation, the audience  would have real people attached to the implications and it would mean a lot more—plus we would be thinking about the possibilities for the future.

BONUS…The Stanley Bros are the ones who change the trajectory of the story. This story launches the origin story for their nonprofit, Realm of Caring. 
Click here to learn more about how to be visible in your story.
Thanks, Stanley Bros.

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