5 Predictions for the Future of Storytelling

IMG_3358 (1)There were many things to learn at #Bridge16, but for me this year nothing stood out more than the session on the future of storytelling by John Trybus from the Georgetown Center for Social Impact Communications (CSIC). CSIC research is leading to some powerful insights that can help fundraising and marketing professionals create the most impact in our storytelling now and in the near future.

Here are Trybus’ top 5 predictions for the future of storytelling:

  1. Disruptive Characters – Did you notice the voice of Julia Roberts as Mother Nature in Conservation International’s “Nature is Speaking” film? Giving voice to unlikely characters or creating characters literally offers a new voice on your messaging. Who are your disruptive characters, new voices to bring new life to your mission?
  1. Story Stores – Disney has a story behind every product they sell, and more and more marketers are working to do the same thing. Trybus predicts that many retail stores will develop trainings to help their sales staff become storytellers. In the fundraising world, how can you turn your staff into storytellers sharing your vision?
  1. Virtual Reality – We are going to see more and more examples of organizations and companies using virtual reality as a way to tell their stories. Charity:Water (leading edge, as always) has used virtual reality headsets to “take” donors to the third world to see their projects in action. How can you incorporate virtual reality to bring your stories to life?

  1. Citizen Storytelling – In today’s world everyone can and will comment on your work in the public space. Trybus suggests we should create frameworks to allow those who are passionate about our work to tell the story. This is also a powerful way to let constituents tell their own stories, avoiding the delicate issue of appropriation. How can you turn the people who clearly care about your mission into citizen storytellers for your cause?
  1. Hybrid Storytelling – This idea follows closely on the heels of something we at Impact are rather passionate about: breaking down communications silos. Trybus says organizations must, “embrace the blur,” and build bridges between departments to deliver believable stories. He believes integration is the most innovative thing happening right now, and we couldn’t agree more. How are you embracing the blur and sharing your stories across all departments?

The Center for Social Impact Communications is doing cutting-edge work that you should know about! They also offer many ways for nonprofit organizations to become involved with their work. Visit their website to learn more and sign up for their e-newsletter.

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