Digital Storytelling for Social Impact

Storytelling is one of the key ways to engage and mobilise people to action. It’s also the way that humans have always made sense of ourselves in the world and shared our values.


Is your organization making the best use of the resources you have to tell the most compelling stories you can? Do you think you could be more effective in your use of social media and new media? This report is for you.


Storytelling is a culture that needs to be built into an organization. It needs support from senior management, and buy-in from everyone in the organization associated with shared values and strategy.

Good storytelling can inspire people by creating human connections and emotional resonance, communicate abstract ideas in ways that encourage understanding, introduce a topic to active public dialogue, and share important lessons with stakeholders and funders.

Strategic storytelling makes people aware of the need, care about the cause, understand the problem and solution, feel a sense of urgency and know how to help.

Storytelling capacity needs to be invested in, seen as important, and resourced.

Content must be compelling in today’s hyper-competitive media environment. Stories for social impact must show people as active agents of change. Narrative structures that include people, solutions, problems, goals and a call to action are particularly effective frames.

There are many digital platforms that can be utilized to reach audiences. For organizations to make sure they are doing it well, time and energy needs to be spent in learning how to use the platforms to avoid the fate of high profile corporate #fails.

Be wary of ‘vanity metrics’ that don’t actually tell you a lot about how successful your campaigns are. Ensure to orient your metrics around what your actual goals are.  

image via UNE Photos (cc), flickr

Date: 2014
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other

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