Anyone who has ever worked in communications or fundraising in a charity will at some point have uttered the words “we just don’t have any case studies”. Well that’s just a silly thing to say! Assuming you’re delivering your services or campaigning as your mission and vision states then I think you can assume you do have case studies (or stories as we prefer to call them – doesn’t that just sound more interesting and welcoming?), it’s just that you haven’t got your hands on them yet.
So how are you going to secure your pipeline of inspiring stories and photos when frankly there isn’t enough time in the day to write all your proposals, reports, press releases, blogs etc? Will there ever be a time when you’re not scrabbling around for a story a week before the annual review is going to print?
The answer is to use your story gatherers. Which brings us back to title of this post, how many story gatherers does your charity have? I’ll hazard a guess that your answer is one if you’re lucky but probably none. Wrong! You have as many story gatherers as you have staff and volunteers working in the field (whether your ‘field’ happens to be a rural community in Sierra Leone or a hospital in South London!).
The people working on your frontline are the people who everyday are exposed to the highs, lows and spine tingling moments that are going to inspire your audiences. Until you talk to those people you really can’t say you have no stories. You’re probably now thinking ‘yes, but they don’t understand what makes a good story’. Well whose fault is that? They’re not fundraisers or communications specialists, why would they know if they haven’t been taught? With a little bit of guidance they can learn.
Have you thought about running a training session your frontline teams to help them understand what you’re looking for? Perhaps produce a stories toolkit for them to use when they are out and about meeting those people whose stories you desperately need? You might find that this small investment could really make your own work shine.