Developing a Storytelling Culture

When I first went to work at the Children's Center for Hope & Healing, a counseling center in Northeast Georgia, I longed for the staff I worked with to tell me clients stories. I knew I needed to be able to share our clients' stories with donors and volunteers to inspire giving and volunteerism and, given that the organization was in dire financial straights when I began working for it, being able to motivate people to give was essential, but I just couldn't—at least not initially—get the staff to share stories about the clients.  

My Library Card

My Library Card

We were on a staff retreat and the facilitator had asked us all to produce one thing that was on our persons or in our pocketbooks or wallets that was meaningful to us. She asked us each to share with the rest of the group what item we had chosen and why it was important to us.

Others on the staff had chosen their wedding rings, pictures of their children, lockets or charm bracelets passed down from grandmothers. I felt a little sheepish and silly, like I hadn’t really gotten the point of the exercise, when it was my time to share because I had picked…