Stories are at the heart of what we do. Real charity impact stories about the lives touched by your work can connect people with your mission and inspire them to keep on giving.
As a One Percent Collective partner charity, you're committed to providing us with one well-written online story with high-res photographs every quarter. This guide will help you to deliver those so that together we can share your stories with the world.
Four steps to creating a great charity impact story
1. Find a subject for a compelling human interest story.
Brainstorm ideas, recent successes and challenges, standout clients or service-users whose lives have been touched by your work, interesting angles etc. It shouldn’t be just about facts and figures – it should focus on the impact your charity’s work is having on an individual, a community or an issue. Choose a story that will make people feel an emotional connection with your charity and your work. See these examples of stories we love from our partners: Victory Over Violence, Holding Onto Hope, Giving People Their Lives Back, Filling Tummies.
2. Interview the subjects needed and write the story – the guidelines below will help.
3. Take some high-quality photos to illustrate the story.
Give us a few to choose from. We can't stress enough the importance of strong photographs – please use the One Percent Collective photo guide. Your images should be a landscape shape, delivered to us at 2000 pixels wide or larger. Photos of people are always best – putting a real face to your story is very powerful. If you’re supplying us with photos taken by someone else, make sure you have obtained permission for us to use them.
4. Show the story to everyone mentioned in it, and make sure they’re happy for it to be published.
The main objective of the story is to help donors (or potential donors) connect A, the money they are giving, with B, the impact your work is having. To do this, the subject of the story, whether it's a person, a recent success or otherwise, should be the champion of the story – it's about them, not the charity's work in general. It can be strong to talk about the wider context and issues involved, and what the charity in question is doing to address those, but only as backup to the subject – don't make it the subject itself.
- Stories should be 500-1000 words in length.
- Keep the style short, simple and punchy. Use plain English, avoiding jargon and technical terms. See example here.
- Short paragraphs – two or three sentences at most – are best for online. Stick to one idea per paragraph.
- Make sure your story is factually correct and doesn’t breach anyone’s copyright.
- Use direct quotes from your subject to convey emotion and passion.
- Aim to leave your audience feeling inspired and positive.
- Our audience is aged 20–35, on average. They want to be inspired, to feel that their contribution matters and makes a difference, and to have awesome stories that they can share with their mates.
- Give your story a title or headline – short and snappy. E.g. "War On Waste,
- End your story with a brief summary of what your charity does to have a similar impact on other individuals or communities, what is has been doing recently, and what it hopes to achieve in the future. Then finish with a clear call to action that explains how you’d like the audience to respond to your story. For example, ‘Back more young people like Suzie with your 1%’, ‘Help more people like Brian transition into work’, or ‘Let’s end food waste in Aotearoa together’.
How we'll share your stories.
Once the story is signed off and ready to go, we’ll publish it on our website on our 'Stories' page, in our monthly Storytime newsletter, and through social media. We'll also provide the story to our corporate supporters who help to make the charities' work possible for them to use in their own comms, as well as pitching it to interested media. The more people we can get the story in front of, the more awareness of the issues surrounding it are raised and the more chance people sign on to support the charity's work as a donor.
How you can share your stories.
Having a bank of human interest stories about the great work you do can be an invaluable resource, and we would love you to share them however you can – the more the merrier! You could share the stories you write for One Percent Collective on your website, social media, through an email newsletter to your database, and to your own supporters and sponsors to give them a concrete example of what they are funding.
You can also pitch them to local media and use them in campaigns.
Need help? If you don’t have any writers or photographers in your team, we may be able to connect you to someone who could help. Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org