April 9, 2014 | Category: Blog | Author:

Audio storytelling and serial storytelling for nonprofits

WHAT NONPROFITS CAN LEARN FROM PUBLIC RADIO: Nonprofits have a lot to learn from public radio about great storytelling. So says Will Coley, founder of Aquifer Media, which produces digital stories and designs social media campaigns for nonprofits. Coley suggests that nonprofits add audio storytelling to their “digital communications toolkit,” because audio makes a connection with listeners by inspiring them to use their imaginations. On a more practical level, he says, many interview subjects are more comfortable talking into a tape recorder than in front of a video-camera, and that means more intimacy and access for nonprofits that want to capture the stories of people they work with. What’s more, audio stories are easily embedded in websites and on social media. Click here to read Coley’s whole article, along with audio clips to illustrate. (Also listen to Coley’s recent and moving piece on and KCRW Radio, “Southern Flight 242: Bringing My Father Home.”)

James Best, Jr. / The New York Times

AND HOW NONPROFITS CAN BENEFIT FROM SERIAL STORYTELLING: A recent New York Times article says there’s a resurgent interest in serial storytelling, as evidenced by readers eagerly logging onto storytelling app Wattpad to check out the latest installment of their favorite story, or to comment on it or share it or write their own story. These readers are providing a modern-day parallel, whether they know it or not, to the passionate followers of Charles Dickens’ serialized novels of the 19th century. Not that serialized storytelling ever went out of style: consider soap operas, radio dramas, serialized comic strips and all the rest. The Times article doesn’t explicitly talk about the app’s value for nonprofits, but a quick search turns up many social-issue narratives among the 4 million stories on the site. It’s not just Wattpad but serial storytelling of any sort — such as on YouTube or even in a newsletter — that can benefit nonprofits by fostering a deeper connection with an organization’s constituents than just the occasional one-off story. For more on this topic, watch the video recording of the See3 webinar on “Serial Storytelling for Nonprofits,” featuring longtime ABC-TV correspondent Mike Lee, or read Lee’s summary of the topic here.