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The Internet is awash in a flood of digital storytelling tips. You know that telling your story is an important way to connect your nonprofit with your constituents and move people to action, but HOW?!
Look no further! Here are four good ideas to incorporate into your own digital storytelling from two digital storytelling gurus:
They shared their advice during TechSoup’s August 14 Storymakers Roundtable: Creating a Break-out Story webinar.
This was part one in our three-part Storymakers 2014 webinar series. Next up is Super-Short Storytelling on August 27, 2014 with Greenpeace, followed by How to Get Your Story Noticed on September 10, 2014 with the CEO of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant. Learn more here.
If you want your story to drive people to action, identify a hero in your story and have your hero model the behavior you want your viewers to follow.
Here’s a powerful example from Medecins sans Frontieres:
*Spoiler alert!* Here’s why this video is impactful, teary-eyed amazingness: It makes a clear link between the action of the hero (namely, The Check-Writing Blonde Lady) and how her contribution results in providing MSF with vital resources to save lives (electricity, in this instance) .
Good, powerful stuff.
What does this mean? It means clearly identifying from whose perspective you are telling your story.
There are three options here for what paradigm you can use: the story of self, the story of us, and the story of now.
This one’s pretty straightforward. When telling a story from a personal lens, the framing is critical. Help your audience understand where you are in your story and what choices you made.
[Note: You don’t have to go deep into your life history, but you have to address 'who am I' to be telling this story.]
You want to answer these questions:
This version tells why a particular group of people came together as a community to address “x” problem.
This one's really about how to compel people to action right now. This very second, even.
The Story of Now uses a story to create a sense of urgency to move people to action. It means crafting your story to help your viewers see what the challenge, risks, and opportunities are. [See that MSF video link again for a refresher…]
You know the way a good joke depends a lot on timing? Similarly, a good story focuses on the critical moment of change. Identify the critical moment of change in your story and use this moment to frame the story.
I really like this one as a great example. It’s done in a clean, simple format involving a single voice narrating over two photos:
Here’s how our digital storytelling gurus said you should think about video length:
Is your video for prospective constituents? Keep it short.
Are you sharing a story with loyal contributors or volunteers? You may want to take more time to let your story unfold.
*Submissions to the Storymakers 2014 Challenge opens August 26, 2014. Submit here and find out more information on our webinar series, our global-tweet-chat, and more storytelling resources.
Dulcey Reiter, Rubber Band Sharp Shooter, Faux Tap Dancer Extraordinaire and Occasional Blog Contributor, Tech Soup's Senior Global Campaign Manager
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.