At Volunteer Maryland, we talk a lot about storytelling and we also talk a great deal about “the ask”. While preparing training materials this week, I became more convinced than ever that storytelling and the ask are one in the same. When we tell stories, we are implicitly asking for our audience’s attention. And when we ask for something, we almost always have a story about why we need it and why it should be given.
Not surprisingly, Volunteer Maryland Coordinators get lots of training and plenty of practice in the areas of asking and telling. To ensure staff buy-in, VMCs tell compelling stories about how volunteers will help the organization fulfill its mission. And what is volunteer recruitment besides an ask? Once those volunteers are recruited, VMCs provide orientations that include the creation story of the organization, as well as success stories that inspire and encourage new volunteers.
At our next training, we will focus on storytelling — stories about ourselves, our service and our organizations. As the Relay For Life video below shows, a good story makes all the difference when asking for help, donations, partnerships and pretty much everything. What’s your story?