Crafting a Pro Bono Story That Resonates

A step-by-step approach to developing an effective pro bono storytelling strategy
Oct 1, 2019 3:30 PM ET
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For corporate pro bono practitioners, telling stories is critical. By communicating the impact of your pro bono programming effectively, you’ll promote your company’s social good initiatives both internally and externally. Those efforts can help elevate your company’s brand and position in the field—that’s the power of a good story.

We at Taproot Foundation have picked up tips and tricks for impactful pro bono storytelling over the years. With some help from our friends at Edelman, VMware, and Morgan Stanley, we’re sharing insights we’ve gleaned from our experience with both pro bono programming and strategic communications. Our goal is simple—to equip practitioners with the skills they need to tell powerful stories that move the field forward.

Know Your Target Audience
What’s your end-game for telling your pro bono story? It starts with understanding your audience—whether it’s your C-suite or the employees you’re trying to recruit. This piece of information can help you shape your narrative, the takeaways you want to highlight, and ultimately your call to action. Here are a few steps to understand your audience.

Develop Your Narrative
At the heart of every great story is a compelling plot—a conflict, an eventual resolution, and a message for the future. When you’re out in the field delivering your programs, be on the lookout for what Edelman calls the “Five Acts of Successful Stories.” By keeping an eye out for these elements of quality stories, you can make sure the experiences and messages you’re capturing and sharing are the most impactful ones possible.

Pique Your Audience’s Interest
Once you’ve developed your narrative, pique your audience’s interest by infusing it with any of what Edelman calls “The Seven Characteristics of Good Stories.” While you shouldn’t employ all of these qualities, using a few of them can help brighten your story and win over your audience.

Read more in  Telling Your Pro Bono Story