From My Inbox: Storybanking

One of the things I really look forward to getting delivered every month is Andy Goodman's newsletter free-range thinking. It's aimed at "public interest communicators who want to reach more people for more impact." He's a huge proponent of storytelling as a means to communicating your message and this month he has an article (PDF) that takes that idea one step further. It's called storybanking: creating a database of stories that can be used to spread your message.

You may be wondering how this is relevant to keeping SANE programs afloat. The truth is, for your program, it may not be. But as we've been talking to struggling programs, one of the things we've heard repeatedly is frustration with a.) not being more well-known in the community; b.) not feeling like an integral part of community services and/or; c.) not being able to get hospital leadership or local funders to understand why supporting your program is important. Having a bank of stories to use when you're asking for some good PR from your local paper, or support for a full-time coordinator position from your agency, or funding for a camera from your local women's auxiliary can be a real asset. And while stories from patients can be very compelling, I think equally compelling might be stories from our collaborators (particularly in the advocacy community) who often have the added perspective of seeing the before and after when we work with patients. Keep in mind, confidentiality trumps everything else, and permission is necessary before using any stories.

Have you had occasion to use storytelling as a way to garner support for your program? I'd love to hear some of your experiences! It's great for us to have stories in our own bank as we head out to work with struggling programs...