Storytelling for Social Impact: Tools and Resources

Friday January 8, 2021

This fall, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and the Tarsadia Foundation hosted a three-part webinar series, Storytelling for Social Impact. The series was offered to all who applied to the Opportunity Challenge: $1 Million to Uplift Immigrant Communities, a joint, open grantmaking initiative launched last spring to support the success of immigrants and refugees and their communities across the United States. The Fund and Tarsadia wanted to provide real benefits to every organization that took time to apply to the Opportunity Challenge. We decided to focus on storytelling and communications after identifying common areas of interest and need among the applicants.

Storytelling is an impactful way for mission-driven organizations to raise funds, start new partnerships, promote policy change, and more. We partnered with non-profit marketing experts Rex Unger and Kirstyn Nimmo of Reciprocal Brand and Strategy to devise a program that would address many non-profits’ communications needs, such as the need for effective storytelling. We wanted to explore how telling stories can promote audience growth and attract new partners. More than 100 Opportunity Challenge applicants joined and actively engaged in the live workshop sessions, which brought together an exciting group of attendees to discuss how to hone an organization’s core story as well as simple but compelling ways to extend the reach of communications efforts.

We’re thrilled to share the recordings and slides from all three workshops. We hope these resources can be helpful to mission-driven organizations looking to tell their stories more powerfully and to optimize their communications in order to drive change.

Session 1: Fundamentals of Impact Storytelling

The first session starts with the basics of organizational storytelling, outlining the elements of a compelling, effective story and showing how these stories can help to support and promote your mission. We also discuss strategies for amplifying the voices of communities and fostering a storytelling culture, and build out a sample story together.

Session 2: Content Strategy and Proactive Communications

In this session, we help you to think through how your organization tells its stories and how it can explore different types of content and different strategies for growing your audience. We discuss the most important channels for storytelling as well as various free or low-cost options that can extend the reach and impact of every story you tell.

Session 3: Storytelling for Fundraising and Growth

In our final session, you will learn how storytelling can help secure donor funding and resources for your organization. We discuss how storytelling and communications can lead to new partnerships and donors that contribute to your mission and growth.

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