Communications experts, social media gurus, and PR consultants talk a
lot about the importance of nonprofit organizations learning to tell
their stories. And yes, compelling stories are key to
winning hearts and gaining members and supporters for your organization. But what if, for one day, you just sat back and listened?
Will you be spending Thanksgiving with friends who tell great
stories, a relative who has wonderful tales from “back in the day,” or
just someone special whose life you’d like to celebrate? Why not record
their story in honor of StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening the day after Thanksgiving (November 27th).
~ Britt Bravo (Have Fun Do Good)
There’s something about a National Day of Listening that grabs the
imagination, isn't there?
And it’s fitting for StoryCorps to pick a day
when many families, in the US at least, are already gathered together.
The turkey has been digested, the conversation is starting to flag, and
the sports on television may not be equally engaging for every family
member… there could be no better time to revive the old art of storytelling, and
capture some memories across generations.
StoryCorps makes it easy to interview people and record their stories for posterity, with free downloadable resources such as a do-it-yourself instructional guide, an online interview questions generator to kickstart your conversations, and a practical how-to video
that covers the technical basics of conducting an audio
interview. The free
resources also include an Educational kit and a Community Service kit,
to help you take those interview skills from the kitchen table out into your community.
Imagine what could happen if that one designated day of listening became a regular part of your nonprofit’s programming...
What new and even more compelling stories might emerge? And what
might you learn from those stories about your members’ and constituents’ needs, helping to shape your programs for the future?
Update 27 Nov 2009:
Also check out Peggy Hoffman's post, National Day of Listening & Association Story Project, which launches a year-long project at Mariner Management & Marketing to collect the stories of association volunteers in a publicly accessibly archive of inspiration. One to watch!