Even though Tom persuaded me to give up working with cave art and stone tablets when we ‘modernized’ the Agitator offices, we’ve never lost interest in the power and importance of storytelling.

It’s just that we now have paper and digital bits and bytes for the all-important fundraising task of tale-telling.

Over the years we’ve honored the importance of storytelling in various posts — Top 10 Secrets of Successful Storytelling … Storytelling vs. Data. Which is More Important … The Tale of The Bigger Bottom Line — to name a few.

Since we’ve devoted a good part of the past week to issues involving the use of email and other digital efforts, it’s way past time to introduce you to a book that sits dog-eared on my desk.

Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits by Julia Campbell is in so many ways a remarkable piece of work.

For Tom’s generation, who have barely made the transition from papyrus to paper, it’s about the clearest ‘how to’ work on the use of storytelling in the age of digital marketing, communication and social media.

For the younger generation, it ties the timeless importance of storytelling to strategies, tactics and techniques of the digital age.

In short, this is a book for everyone. If you’re just getting started you’ll benefit from the thorough step-by-step plans, checklists, templates and other guides the author has generously included. If you’re a seasoned digital practitioner there’s plenty in this book for you too.

I’m thinking it’s more than coincidence that famous chef and TV personality Julia Child and Ms. Campbell share the same first name, because Storytelling in the Digital Age and Mastering the Art of French Cooking are both inspiring and practical compendiums of information.

For example…

  • Finding stories. One of the perennial problems all nonprofits and their copywriters face is finding good stories. Julia deals with this.
  • A Storytelling Plan. While it’s fine to believe in the miracle of storytelling, it’s far better to create a story telling plan. Julia covers that.
  • What Kind of Stories? What are the stories that turn folks from passive to active? Where do you find them? “Part Two –Building Your Storytelling Arsenal” contains practical answers to those and other questions.
  • Adapting Stories for Email, Blogs and Social Media. You’ll find step-by-step advice in “Part 3: Molding the Storytelling Gold: How to Promote Your Stories Using Your Website, Email, Blog and Social Media.
  • Spice Up Your Stories. Chapter 12 will tell you exactly how to use visuals and videos and even suggests easy-to-use apps like the one I used right here and which took me 2 minutes to learn and put to work.
  • Nothing Succeeds Like Success. Importantly, Julia doesn’t neglect the importance of the proper measurement of results and how to take those results the next step. See Chapter 13. 

Templates, Calendars, Spreadsheets and Checklist

Storytelling in the Digital Age leaves nothing to chance. Julia has thoughtfully included appendices including a Storytelling Calendar … A Social Media Content Calendar Template … a Measurement Spreadsheet Template … and even a Social Media Online Tool Kit Checklist for “Superfans.”

What Agitator readers are saying…

Here’s a sampling of high praise from our sister Agitators.

Pamela Grow — Julia provides a roadmap for digital navigation. “The plan is easy to understand, and it’s easy to act on. Building gradually from the bottom up, Julia begins by offering insight on how to build a storytelling arsenal filled with your nonprofit’s strongest narratives and ends with amplifying their power via the visual (images and video).”

Erica Waasdorp — I read the book in one sitting. It has lots of great check lists, practical tips, schedules and more …  I also liked the dos and don’ts, the warnings, personal experiences and examples.  And it mentions Monthly Giving.

Julia Campbell gets a well-deserved Agitator Raise for  Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for NonprofitsOrder a copy and  you’ll agree.

Roger