What’s this site?
Stories That Work is a tool to help nonprofit communicators better understand the range of possibilities for telling and sharing digital personal experience narratives, so that they can plan appropriate and successful organizational storytelling projects. It was developed by and is maintained by Dr. Lisa Dush of DePaul University.
You’ll find two main sections here:
- The Story Database contains brief descriptions of and links to notable online collections of personal experience narratives. It’s filterable by facets like topic and media type. We hope organizations will use this tool to get ideas for their own storytelling projects. While the database is small right now (July 2017), it will grow over the coming months, as we finish uploading all of our content.
- The Blog is a place where you’ll find longer posts, some synthesizing storytelling projects in particular nonprofit sectors, others offering tips and recommendations for best practice. Most of these posts are written by students in the MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University.
What can I do here?
Nonprofit communicators can search the Story Database to identify projects that might be suitable at their organization. You can use these concrete examples in the planning stage of storytelling initiatives, to focus discussions among staff and with potential storytellers and production consultants.
Students of nonprofit communication can browse the database and the blog to learn about the range of ways nonprofits and causes are using digital personal experience narratives.
Anyone can also do the following:
- Keep up to date, by following Stories That Work on Twitter. All of our new content is shared on Twitter.
- Contribute! From the start, Stories That Work was envisioned to be a crowdsourced project, both bigger and better from the contributions that others make to it. If you’ve helped to create a collection of nonprofit or cause-related personal experience narratives online, or if you’ve stumbled across one that you like, please let us know via the Suggest page.
- Write a guest post on the blog: please contact us with your post idea(s).
Where can I learn more about nonprofit storytelling?
There are many terrific resources online. Here are a few we recommend:
- Stories Worth Telling: a joint project of the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University and the Meyer Foundation, this site provides resources and tutorials for nonprofit storytelling. The downloadable report is a must-read.
- Hatch for Good: this Rockefeller Foundation-funded project can help you plan a storytelling project at your organization.
- StoryCenter: StoryCenter is a leader in developing ethical storytelling practices and training others to use these practices. Read through their Values and Methods page, especially the Core Principles and Ethical Practice sections.
- Daily DoGooder: a project of the nonprofit communications agency See3, the Daily DoGooder has a curated, searchable database of excellent cause videos, curated from across the web.
- Storybanking Toolkit: this online toolkit was developed by the health-advocacy organization Families USA, which has long been collecting and disseminating personal experience narratives. The toolkit has many videos, planning templates, and other useful resources.