On June 18th, I participated in a very informative webinar, led by Mark Rover, founder of Sea Change Strategies, and Nicole Lampe, digital strategy director of Resource Media. Thank you Network For Good for hosting this event. View the recording of the webinar here.
Here is a summary of the advice I gathered from the presentation. You can also view the slides here. Enjoy!
When planning a story:
1. Stop thinking
2. Take the time to learn the craft.
Consider taking an intro to screenwriting or novel writing class (A few suggested online resources: The Goodman Center or Resource Media). It can help you learn how to spot a good story, and also when a story is going in the wrong direction.
3. Give the "Hero's Journey" a rest.
This phrase made famous by Joseph Campbell, you can read what defines it here.
4. Stick to essentials:
• character (single individual)
Examples of Good Stories
Characters Magazine is a great resource of great writing.
Here is an example in the latest issue of a story told in tweets:
Snow Fall published in The New York Times - here is another great example that is inspiring (they strongly urged is to read it!)
Beyond the Written Word
Visual Content is very important!
60% of the brain is dedicated to visual processing
Dual Coding Theory
Words paired with a visual is very effective
One reason "memes" are so popular (here is my example below...)
Ask Your Community for Stories:
Start small, and ask for something very clear and concrete
Even "fill in the blanks" can get more submissions or interest to participate
Know what does your audience value that is common ground to your agenda
Advice from the experts during the Q&A Session
- Don't be afraid of tragedy in your stories if you can lead it to hope.
- Good News doesn't raise money - so convey there is stil a need for money ! But...
- Celebrate good news between "asks" - use Before/After, Success Stories, etc. as Thank You to donors and volunteers
Direct Mail - why you should continue to rely on them for donations
OnlineGiving is roughly 10%, the rest is Direct Mail so keep it going!
Every page of a letter adds a 25% to the response rate
Don't make story too short - the conventional wisdom is longer is better.