I'm in line at Royal Farms and there are two girls, about 13-14 years old, in front of me. Their purchase is rung up and they start looking at one another and giggling nervously, digging deep in their pockets.They are $.38 short. The cashier is old enough to be their grandmother, and also old enough to be retired. She says "It's ok, you can pay me tomorrow."
I’m thinking, “ Whoa, surprising, like a mom & pop shop!”
I tell her that I will pay the change (like adults did for us as kids), so that her drawer won't be short. The girls are sweet, thank me and leave.
The cashier keeps thanking me, as if I did a favor for her own kids, and tells me she usually brings in extra money to cover people who don’t have enough. She is old enough to be retired, working a low-wage job and still manages to look out for people. #TheBaltimoreISee
I posted this story a couple months ago on my personal Facebook page. It received many likes and shares. I was surprised about the effect it had on people. It made me consider, what about this touched people? A colleague said, “I’d rather see this kind of stuff in your monthly blog than all those tips and resources. I mean, those are helpful, but…” Well! I could be offended, but decided to take the advice.
I facilitate training sessions on storytelling, so this really got me thinking. This story did not include a call to action because I was only casually sharing something that struck me. But what if it had? Would people have responded well to a request? I think so.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for mission-based organizations to move people to action -- giving, volunteering, acting in support of a cause. Why does storytelling work?
- Trigger emotion
- Enlighten – “oh, now I get it!”
- Imprint on memory
- Make it easier to remember and repeat/ to others
- Influence decision making
- Illustrate the work you do everyday
- And, studies tell us that generosity is linked to hearing stories
Do you use stories in your communications? Could you be doing it more often? Would it help people be inspired -- see hope not hopelessness?
Storytelling for mission-based organizations is a topic that I enjoy facilitating. I help participants understand why storytelling matters, the benefits of this for an organization, and offer concrete guidance on how to create stories that resonate. It is so fun to see the excitement and ideas in people as they consider the stories they have to share from their work. I always walk away inspired by the outcomes of people's efforts in their day to day work.
Contact me if you think your team would benefit from such a session.
Andy Goodman- Expert in the power of storytelling with great techniques and tips
Network for Good e-book (free download) “Storytelling for Nonprofits”
Bridgespan Group, “Why Nonprofits Need to Be Storytellers”
Best of luck to you! Don't forget to share your stories!