Story Building

This section invites you to create a story about either your organisation or else for a fundraising campaign. You should start by answering the following questions to define your ideas and shape your story.

Answer them honestly and based upon reality:

Goals: What do you want to communicate/achieve with the story?
Focus: What is the organization about? Which are its core values
Breadth: What will the product or service set side by side?
Scope: How big will the story/campaign be
Plan: How will you share and promote the story?

Bear in mind that stories need to be interesting to engage the audience and effectively communicate its message.

Interest in a story is sparked by: uncertainty, exaggeration, unexpected events, creativity, understandable goals or intentions, feelings of the protagonist, a turning point or turning points, identification with the problems.

Nowadays, new technologies are being used to reach younger technological audiences, such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AG), Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Activity:  Explore the SYNOPSIS Case Study Collection to find out some good examples of how cultural organisations apply technology in their communication/fundraising strategy.

Visual Story Portraits (VSP) can be used to help to build challenging and highly engaging stories. This helps create stories based on narrative characterised by a series of essential story elements.

Visual Storytelling Portait diagram

<< Serious storytelling

Stories normally follow a structure in order to better communicate their messages and reach their audiences.

Story building image

Cynthia Kurtz proposed the following 5-part structure:

Context – introduction of the setting and characters, explanation of the state of affairs,
Turning point – the dilemma or problem or initiating event that starts the story rolling,
Action – how the people in the story respond to the dilemma or problem,
Reversal – complications, further difficulties, challenges, things going wrong,
Resolution – the outcome of the story and reactions to it.

An alternative way to create your story from scratch is by using “story skeletons”, which in essence is breaking the story down into chunks with important elements that are easy to remember.

There are 2 types of story skeletons:

The 3-part skeleton, based upon three elements:
Opening (setting) – Problem – Solution. Start by summarising the scope of the story in 3 sentences, one for each of the parts. Once you are happy with these you can start adding detail to it.

The 5-part skeleton is of course more detailed:
Opening (setting) – rising action (theme, desired state) – climax (change) – falling action (real transformation) – ending (conclusion, insight, desired state achieved).Try and tell your story by developing one sentence for each of the 5 elements, and then you can add extra information and details.

Storytelling Processes >>