The Website as Story Space Workshop

Useful Resources

The Website as Story Space Workshop (this page as .pdf hand-out)

Barbara & Community Expressions: Contact at   Twitter @bgblogging

All Spring 2014 Storytelling Workshop Resources:

Big Duck’s Flowchart for Rethinking Your Website  (Big Duck, in general, has very useful free webinars and posts/tweets including this one on creating audience personas — we’ll do this in the workshop, specifically aimed at storytelling)

How People Read Online  (Some great graphs showing how far people will scroll)

DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT IN CULTURE, HERITAGE AND THE ARTS  Jasper Visser / Jim Richardson (fantastic resource I’ve used here–generous CC license and takes you right through a sound process for a digital engagement process, even if you are not in the arts)

Salsa Labs on Seven Tips to Making a Great Website (Visual Storytelling)

If you need to convince your organization that storytelling needs to be at the heart of what you do, start with the Rockefeller Foundation Report on Digital Storytelling for Social Impact and their toolkit

Much as I am skeptical of any post/article with a title…The 16 Whatevers you need to know…this one is useful: Developing a Storytelling Culture: 16 Questions to Ask Yourself

Twelve Ways to Freshen Up Your Website


13467178765_0ec2951199_bPhoto Used by CC License:

Workshop Agenda

There are no slides for this workshop per se: while we’ll refer to slide decks from other storytelling workshops as we review the power and process of nonprofit storytelling, we’ll work from this page to explore the role of the website in inspiring, teaching, learning, acting and connecting through stories.

1. Welcome/Intro

2. Story Circles

One-minute stories. Tell us about an experience when you felt compelled/inspired/called to action or a moment when you needed help. Do not explain the story, bring us there to the moment itself. Prep: first line & last

3. Quick review of nonprofit storytelling:  Why & Who & How & When & Where 

What we mean by story.010

bg example: No Place Like Home

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.14.50 AM

what does your story say.007

4. What does your website have to do with story?

A Look at  Town Hall Theater  Books to Prisoners & Vermont Works for Women  What unique story can your website tell? How are design, voice, focus used to tell the over-arching, most pressing story?  Is the story making us think, touching our heart, bringing us closer, inspiring us to act?

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 3.12.14 PM


5. Touring Nonprofit Websites Part One,  Homepages 

a. In your small groups, take a tour of the homepages listed for your group (five minutes per homepage). What story does it tell, specific question does it answer? How? What voice/personality is conveyed? Who is the intended audience? How can you tell? What action does the homepage wish the audience to take?  Is the homepage compelling/effective?  Why or why not?

Group One: Miriam’s Kitchen Alameda County Community Foodbank Sightline Institute

Group Two: No Kid Hungry  Mistakes Kids Make  Break It Down Crisis Clinic

Group Three: Hillside Big City Mountaineers Mission Asset Fund Seattle Parks Foundation

Group Four: The Telling Room  Children of Shelters   Malaria No More

Group Five:  Girl Effect   Names for Change  Missing Kids Stamps

Group Six:  New York Peace Institute Empower Generation Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance

Group Seven: Earthlinks Agrarian Trust Clean Up the River Environment

Group Eight: Latino Community Fund  Within Reach WA  Dignity for Divas

b. Take your group to your homepage and do the same. (five minutes/per website)

c. Individual reflections:  Come up with a metaphor for the story your org. homepage tells.  Jot down observations/feedback/ideas about your homepage story.

d. Full-group sharing of 4 -5 of your home pages.

6. Discussion: Inside the Website, the Small Story(ies)

What’s their role?  Where do they most effectively reside?  What sorts of stories are told?  What media is used?  How successfully? Look at Call-to-Action pages for stories (efficacy/social proof), Project pages, Stories pages.

to tell a story.014to tell a story.015

7. The Hunt for Effective Use of Small Stories

In your small group, take another look at the websites (first the assigned websites and then your own) and find examples of small stories well told. Where does the story appear?  How does it connect to mission/goal/audience? What frames and contextualizes the story?  What makes it compelling?  What media is used and to what effect? What else do you notice? Be ready to present one small story done particularly well, and one story that does not quite hold up.


8. Story Audit 

a. List stories you know your organization has already gathered (one per sticky note).

b. Take Stock. Where do these stories live right now?  Where might they appear to better effect ?  Which stories can/should be featured?  Where? Cluster stories that might live together on particular pages on the website.  Have you used appropriate media?  Are you missing opportunities to share these stories?  Which stories are missing from your catalogue?  Where might you find them? Who can help you?

c. Sharing of insights.

9. Audience Personas

sweet spot.003 a. Using Big Duck’s Form, (See hand-out), come up with audience persona(s).  Which stories from the audit can you use for these personas? What will you need to change about your story(ies)?

b. Take-aways

10. Five Small Stories Exercise

  to tell a story.008to tell a story.010

a. Jot down the titles/snapshots of five small stories you can tell right now (that you have not already told or need some changes), one each to meet the following goals: to inspire/move to action, to connect, to celebrate/thank, to share information, to learn from the past. Who is your intended audience for each? What question does each story answer? What will your audience take away from each story?   What goal will the story help you meet? How will you tag these stories for easy access and effective archiving?

b. Share your “best” story with your group and give each other feedback.

c. Full group: Share 3 or 4 of these stories.

12.  Discussion: Social Media Stories & Your Website

The intersection of email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram etc with and through your website.

13.  Your Website Storytelling Strategy: Four Small Steps, Four Big

a. In one sentence, write what you think website storytelling can do for your organization.

b. List 4 steps you can take right away.

c. List 4 steps to take over the next six months.

d. What has to happen for your plan to succeed?

Do refer to the sheets in the hand-out from Visser & Richardson (links below)

14. The Workshop Story


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