Strategy Failures = Lack of Business Acumen

For the past 35+ years I have been going to photography workshops and seminars as well as getting the industry magazines. 99% of all the information is built around building better photography skills.

I believe that there are basically two categories of photographers in our industry: 1) Gear Acquisition Syndrome & 2) Aesthetically Driven.

I would notice through the years that those with Gear Acquisition Syndrome which I believe is basically the source of stress based in the uncertainties that are part of the creative process.

I actually think most all photographers have a little of the GAS in them. It takes courage to create and the anxiety will always be there. Overcoming fear is part of this process and in the end finding personal success with life’s challenges is rewarding.

The reason for that GAS problem is that when we are at these workshops and seminars we see that some of the creative content is produced with new gear. Time-Lapse and Drone Photography are two of the biggest things I see as motivating people to buy more gear to get something creative that they cannot do with their present gear.

Sooner or later you end up in the Aesthetically Driven camp. You are looking for images that have impact.

If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff. 

Jim Richardson

I watch as more and more photographers pursue interesting content. Many pursue wars, refugees, medical crisis, and so on. Many are treating people more like objects for their photographic prints. There are still some who are using the camera to move people’s hearts to take action to improve the world.

Chess or Checkers? [NIKON D3S, Nikon 60.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4000, 1/60, ƒ/4, (35mm = 60)]

Too many are thinking that they are playing Checkers. They should be playing Chess. The problem is they see a game board with 64 squares, but the similarities stop there. 

How to Make Money

The one thing that is missing for most trying to make a living in this industry is understanding of how a company makes money. Too many people think if they know how to make photos with their cameras that people will want to hire them.

Most photographers call around and ask if people need any photos taken. While there are many ways to do this the problem is this puts the average photographer in the category of a commodity. Once you are seen as a commodity like wheat, barley, sugar, maize, cotton, cocoa, coffee, milk products, pork bellies, oil, and metals it is almost impossible to make a living. The reason is simple there is always someone willing to do it cheaper.

How to avoid becoming a commodity
  1. Say no to low prices. If someone wants your product or service for less than you are offering it, and you say No, then you are holding firm. There is no chance you are a commodity if you do this. 
  2. Price yourself higher. I know of some people who came into markets and made a killing because they priced themselves as the “Fine Jeweler” in a market flooded with “Walmart” priced photo services.
  3. Know your value. If you believe in your value (because it is good value) then this will make a huge difference.
Copyright Knowledge & Cost of Doing Business isn’t the Secret

Too many photographers go to the seminars about usage rights and then start doing quotes based on this new knowledge and often see they are losing even more business. Others figure out their bottom line and discover they need to charge a minimum and when they put that into place also find they are losing business.

Compass [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/125, ƒ/16, (35mm = 105)]

You see all this is being focused on you. Don’t get me wrong you need all of this knowledge to be successful, but that isn’t the key. Those are all necessary. But the compass for your business is the customer’s needs and desires.

Questions you should be asking
  1. Why does the customer need this to improve their business?
  2. What are my clients problems?
  3. What could help my client communicate better with their clients?
  4. What makes my client better/unique as compared to their competition?
  5. How can I capture with my camera something that will communicate how they can help their clients make more money?
  6. How can I create an experience for my client that makes them enjoy life better?
  7. Who are your customers?
Focus on Customer Experience, Not Customer Service

When you interact with a client that is customer service, but when you are not there and the customer interacts with something from your business that is an experience. Customer service is critical and important, but it is only a part of the customer experience.

Maybe you are a wedding photographer and the people loved you and your team at the wedding. That is all about customer service. When you posted photos throughout the day of the wedding to social media and their family and friends were able to see them on their wedding day even if they were not there, well that is customer experience.

The photographers that turn around images quickly as compared to those that take 3 to 6 months to get the photos to the bride and groom create a better experience. When your photos capture precious moments and tell their story better than they could imagine–that is customer experience.

Chess or Checkers? [NIKON D3S, 85.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 12800, 1/4000, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 85)]

You need understanding of what drives profitability and cash flow, a market-focused approach to the business and an overall big picture understanding of the business and its interrelationships. Each of the pieces of your business are more like the pieces of a chess set. Together all of them are different and help you play the game and win.

Your Biggest Mistake

You discover that the 64 squares you have been playing on are a different game than you thought you were playing.

You have been trying to move all your pieces to the other side of the board, when the game really isn’t about that at all. In chess you can win in as little as two moves. It isn’t about taking all of your opponents pieces to win.

What is the objective of the game? What are you trying to accomplish? All those questions lead you to one thing in business. Those who get to know their client and see what they need to be success and do all they can to help them be successful in turn also become successful.

It Takes All Three
  1. You need Gear
  2. You need to be creative aesthetically
  3. You need Business Acumen. Know how to help your clients make money.

Client not Responding?

[NIKON Z 6, Sigma 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/200, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

Many of us may feel like Joseph, son of Jacob & Rachel in the Bible. His story was made into a broadway show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Joseph repeated two of his dreams to his brothers, in which he was portrayed as ruling over them. In the first, the brothers were gathering wheat in the field, and the brothers’ bundles bowed to Joseph’s bundle. In the second, Joseph envisioned the sun, the moon, and eleven stars (symbolizing his parents and brothers) bowing to him.

This prompted feelings of jealousy within his brothers.

You can read the story in Genesis 37 if you haven’t heard it before or need to review it.

While all those dreams would become reality it didn’t happen right away.

The FaceApp which takes a photo of you and ages you was popular this week. It was a quick way to see into the future. It wasn’t long before someone read the fine print and realized you may be giving your data to a foreign government like Russia.

Patience Young Grasshopper

“Patience, young grasshopper” comes from a 1970s TV show called “Kung Fu”. David Carradine played the role of Kwai Chang Caine, a half-American half Chinese character in the old west who had been trained as a Shaolin monk in China.

The opening line to every show was the Master telling David Carridine “When you can snatch the pebble from my hand ‘Grasshopper’ it will be time to go.” Needless to say, the show went on for years before he finally snatched the pebble out of his hand. This, in turn, produced the saying to a young person, or any person trying to learn something that would take more than a day or two to learn, “patience young grasshopper” and it stuck all of these years.

Seeing the Prize vs Getting the Prize

Both Joseph and Kwai Chang Caine saw the prize. Joseph through his dream and Caine could see the pebble right in front of him.

I see all the time how I can help a client using my skills to help them attain their goals. So, why can’t they just see how I can help them? I can save them money, time and headache if they would just let me.

Does that sound familiar? I think all my photographer, writer and storyteller colleagues see every day with their clients how they could really help, but the client is for some reason not willing to let you do your thing.

Getting 20/20 Vision

I have found that often when I look back over my career that had I not had to wait to do what I thought I was ready to do I would have missed out on some experiences that prepared me to do an even better job for the client.

Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorachev speaks to the press during the Atlanta-based German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States hosted the Unification Conference, a historic meeting of President George Bush, 41st president of the United States of America, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr. Helmut Kohl and former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorachev, at the Georgia World Congress Center. The three world leaders discussed their perspectives on the global impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall and unification of Germany, along with their visions for transatlantic partnership, leadership and prosperity. The meeting was held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 2003. [NIKON D100, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 1600, 1/350, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 247)]

Had I not lost my job with the International Mission Board I couldn’t have then worked for Georgia Tech. I wouldn’t have gone back to school for my master’s in communication.

Without the masters degree I wouldn’t have been able to be an adjunct professor teaching photojournalism at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Georgia this past year.

When I first started working at the Hickory Daily Record in 1984 my skills were really limited. When I went to the International Mission Board I didn’t have things in my portfolio that said send Stanley to cover that story.

Debrinja Watts [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]

While working on my masters degree I had to work full-time to pay the bills. I was one of the first photographers hired with a new concept Glamour Shots. That was before PhotoShop days. I learned so much about posing and working with people to do headshots.

Going After What You Want vs. Letting Things Come To You

You do need to set goals. Going to college for instance is necessary for many jobs. You need to go after that goal in order to get the job you want.

Then there comes that point where even if you’ve done everything in your power to make it so you discover you can’t make it happen. This is where the letting things come to you part enters the conversation. At a certain point, we need to release control. Loosen our grip. Allow things to unfold. Give it up to a higher power, the universe, whatever. For me I pray about it and give it to God.

I do believe that what you need comes to you at the right time, even if you don’t quite understand it. My faith has taught me that God is in control.

Father Flor Maria Rigoni is a missionary with the San Carlos Scalabrini and works in the town of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico. The pastoral mission of the Scalabrinians is the care of migrants. [Nikon D3S, 24.0-120.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture, ISO 800, 1/250, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 66 )]

I am learning that you need to let some things happen organically. This is where when a client brings up something you are ready to speak. It also means that you back off after speaking.

One of the best things I have learned is that Great Ideas also require the right season for them. Putting seeds in the ground is a great idea to grow something. However, it has to happen at the right time of year or they never will grow into anything. They actually can die.

Another thing I have learned that if you plant grass seed in the late fall it will grow in the spring. If you plant it early or later, the grass will not burst from the soil until the conditions are right. The right temperature, sunlight and water.

Prayer for Anxiety/Patience
Father, sometimes the wait is long and impatience gets the better of me. Forgive me and grant me the patience to await your blessings upon my life and not question your power.

The Prisoner

Meghan Duncan & James Dockery catching up since their time together in Kosovo a couple years ago. This is Meghan’s second storytellers workshop. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 140, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

We have a teaching schedule that requires the subjects to be available to the storytellers for a good 3 to 4 days at the first of our time in the field. Meghan’s person had some job come up at the last moment which through her whole project either out and we find a substitute or as Meghan pushed for was to pack all the process into a couple days.

Bill Bangham and Meghan Duncan talking after Meghan had just packed up her drone she used for the project. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 220, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Since this was Meghan’s second workshop Jeff Raymond decided to let her along with the support of Bill Bangham going with her on getting the b-roll to meet that deadline.

560[NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/250, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

The success of the project has a great deal to do with how motivated Meghan was for what would require event later night editing than most.

Meghan was given this paragraph about Cesar:

Cesar became a believer while he was in prison. He became a spiritual leader within the prison and now wants to continue ministry as a pastor. He has started studies at the Facultad but is currently taking a break to get married. He is involved with a new church plant and will hopefully become the pastor of that church.

Watch how she got more by peeling the onion as we say in storytelling.

If you are passionate about theological education, start the conversation with ABWE here at abwe.org/go.

Maybe you work in the media industry and want to explore telling missions stories. Go here to learn more about Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop.

AM I IN DANGER?

Storyteller Courtney Gille is getting b-roll of the family she is working on for her story. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4000, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 52)]

This is Courtney Gille’s second time doing the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop. She went with us to Nicaragua.

Courtney with the Fucaraccio boys. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 2000, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 35)]

Each storyteller is given a paragraph on what the team knows about their subject. Here is what was given to Courtney.

Erika Fucaraccio is a Chilean graduate from SCA. She began attending in 1989 when she was in the 6th grade. Now, her boys now attend SCA to receive the same Christian influence that she received.”

Courtney Gille talks with mother Erika Fucaraccio before school time. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 2200, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 28)]

Doing a preinterview before sitting down and capturing her subject on camera helped Courtney dig deeper and find the emotional impact of the school on her.

Listen to the final product here in this video.

Maybe you feel the call to missions after seeing Erika’s story. Go here to learn more www.abwe.org/go.

Maybe you work in the media industry and want to explore telling missions stories. Go here to learn more about Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop.

Christians Journey

Storyteller Ken Robinson is listening in class to James Dockery teaching Adobe Premiere Pro. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 8000, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 105)]

Storyteller Ken Robinson was assigned Christian Aracena for his story. Here is the paragraph that he was given.

Christian Aracena is a Facultad graduate who is currently leading a thriving church plant in Las Condes. They have an English translation available for their service which ministers to ABWE short-term missionaries and other expats (not just from the US). His one daughter is currently attending SCA, but his older daughter is struggling with English impacting her ability to attend SCA. They are currently homeschooling her.”

Ken Robinson during out excursion to downtown Santiago, Chile. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 450, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 52)]

Ken wrote on Facebook, “Well it is finished! The Storytellers Abroad Missions Multimedia Workshops is complete. The finished product is more than just this video, it is the friendship and connections made and the difference in the lives of everyone on our team. We may never know the full impact our work until the other side of heaven!”

Watch the final story that Ken captured.

If you want to support the Facultad Teológica Bautista ABEM so they can help more students like Christian Aracena go here to learn more on how to do just that.

If you want to do a workshop like Ken did to capture this story then go here Storytellers Abroad.

The Missing Ingredient

Storyteller Catherine Gray is out early capturing b-roll of the Ciliniroglu children being dropped off at school. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1400, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 35)]

Storyteller Catherine Gray was given one of the stories that was to help ABWE missionaries running a school in Santiago, Chile. We asked the missionaries what they needed. One of the primary needs was funds to use as scholarships for the students to attend the school.

[NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 360, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 95)]

We then asked the team to identify some of the students/families that have benefited from a scholarship. They then gave us this information about one such family.

Cuneyt & Claudia Cilingiroglu are parents of four students at SCA. He is from Turkey, and she is from Chile. Several years ago, they began a local business making muffins and desserts, but it had a slow start. As a result, money was tight. Through the Student Fund, SCA was able to reduce tuition to allow their kids to continue attending while the business got started.”

Watch the video, captured by Catherine, to see how ABWE stepped in and gave them more than just financial help.

If you want to support the Santiago Christian School so they can help more families like the Cilingiroglu family go here to learn more on how to do just that.

If you want to do a workshop like Catherine did to capture this story then go here Storytellers Abroad.

Making His Deeds Known

Cole Buchanan is off to get B-Roll of pastor Rodrigo Cisternas. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 82)]

Storyteller Cole Buchanan was given this small paragraph and then asked to flesh out the story.

Rodrigo Cisternas is a graduate of the seminary (Facultad) in Santiago. He is now the pastor of a church in Recoleta that was planted by ABWE missionaries. That church has grown to almost 300 people, and they have worked to start 3 additional churches. He also teaches at the Facultad and has children attending Santiago Christian Academy at a reduced cost thanks to the Student Fund.

Cole Buchanan gets B-Roll of pastor Rodrigo Cisternas. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 250, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 58)]

Watch the final video here:

If you are interested in this type of storytelling come join us on future trips, then go here to learn more http://storytellersabroad.com.

If you have an organization and would like to do something like this with you, contact me and lets see what we can do for you.

God is For Everyone

Storyteller Jennifer Nelson works with coaches Bill Bangham and James Dockery putting the final touches before our showing to the missionaries who helped us in producing these stories.[NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 3200, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 28)]

Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas sent their former staff pastor Julian Pizarro to Santiago, Chile to do missions. Pizarro went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for his training.

He is planting a church in the upper income neighborhood of Los Ciruelos.

Jennifer Nelson interviews Julian Pizarra at his church Iglesia Baptist Comunidad Cristiana in Los Ciruelos. RuthAnn Rogers is ABWE missionary that is helping us with transportation to the church. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Storyteller Jennifer Nelson was assigned the Pizarro family because they are sending their children to Santiago Christian Academy which was founded by ABWE [Association for Baptists for World Evangelism] for the purpose of helping missionaries with the education of their children while doing missions.

Without the school Julian’s wife was staying out of the ministry to do full-time home schooling of their children.

Listen to the story that Jennifer captured telling how Santiago Christian Academy is helping them be more effective in their church plant.

If you are interested in teaching in a missions school around the world like in Chile to to www.abwe.org/go to learn more about opportunities to serve.

Maybe you are interested in learning how to tell stories like this one. Go to StorytellersAbroad.com to learn more about workshops in the future.

The Enduring Gift

Emily Tromp, in the foreground, working hard on her story during our Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop in Santiago, Chile. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 28)]

Coaching team for Storytellers Abroad. Bill Bangham, Jeff Raymond, James Dockery & Stanley Leary. Photo by Allison Bayse

Before the workshop starts for participants, some of the coaches go early to the country and lay the foundation for the workshop. We spend time working on some of the logistics that involve housing, food and transportation for the workshop.

The core to this time is finding stories. We talk with the missionaries and find out what are the needs they have right now. Often these are things like a building, money for something and people.

Basically it is a list of wants and needs. The problem with this list is there is nothing emotionally engaging to it.

WHY?

We then ask the important question “Why do you need this?” That is when they tell us what they can do if they get those resources. Often those answers are pretty generic. “We can help more people” is a common answer.

Can you give us an example of a life changed by your ministry that you need more support for? This is when we start to find those stories.

The teacher/missionaries at the Santiago Christian Academy shared how through the school they were doing evangelism of families. Some families just need some help with scholarships and that by individuals like you and churches also supporting they can reach more people with the Gospel.

This is one of those stories.

Storyteller Emily Tromp

Storyteller Emily Tromp shares the story of Maria Paz Gonzalez, a single mother who lives with her daughter, Antonia, in Ñuñoa, Chile. Maria has dealt with a great deal of adversity in regards to her health and has struggled with heart issues that have impacted her ability to work. Due to financial difficulties arising from her medical needs, she did not believe she could afford to send her daughter to Santiago Christian Academy, but thanks to the “SCA Student Fund” the school has been able to cover the costs of Antonia’s education. Despite continued struggles with her health, Maria continues to keep a positive outlook on life and gives thanks to God for everything he has given her.

To support the student fund, go to abwe.org/give and search for Santiago Christian Academy Student Fund.

Maybe you are a storyteller yourself, but have never done a missions story. We are planning workshops right now for next year. Go to Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop website and start the process so we can alert you to the trips and dates for next year.

The workshop is designed for those who already have a working knowledge of photography and have some basic writing skills. Many of the past workshop participants worked on their college newspapers, studied communications in college or have been working in the industry.

The workshop is designed around doing what a seasoned pro storyteller would be doing to tell stories for a missions agency. Our coaches have been working in missions for years. I grew up in missions and have been doing missions storytelling professionally since 1984.

Here are some of the things we address and this is not a complete list:

  • Identifying the Audience
  • Identifying the Client
  • Navigating the politics of missions organizations
  • Cross cultural issues
  • Difference between using logic and emotions to tell stories
  • Why you need to know the story before hitting the record button
  • Understanding how Human Voice, Words, Visuals and Music can all tell a story more effectively
  • Having a “REAL DEADLINE” and delivering a finished story to the client
  • Coaches share their call to “Missions Storytelling”
  • Deep dive into a person’s life that you get to tell their story

Storytellers & Autism have one thing in common …

“The debilitating interpersonal impairments experienced by individuals with Austism Spectrum Disorder are assumed to result from a neurocognitive impairment in the basic motivation and ability to understand people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – perhaps even their own.”

Personality and Self-Insight in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder by: Roberta A. Schriber, Richard W. Robins, and Marjorie Solomon

I really want to fit in and connect with people. This desire is what has led me to try and understand good communication skills and to do a LOT of self evaluation.

Julian Pizarra preaching at his church Iglesia Baptist Comunidad Cristiana in Los Ciruelos — at Colegio Francisco de Miranda. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4000, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 105)]

People with Autism and those struggling in storytelling have something in common. We can get a message delivered, but are often perplexed as why the audience isn’t responding.

I am on the Autism Spectrum and considered to be high functioning. What is important to understand for this blog post is at its core Autism is about a disorder that has social impairment at its core.

My wife, family and friends have all gotten used to me. I will be deep in thoughts and when something fascinating is in my mind I often just share this with those around me.

When I do share these thoughts I am seldom taking the time to understand what is going on at the moment with them. I do a poor job of meeting people where they are in that split second and helping them make a transition to something I would like to share.

Jeff Raymond talks to the group of missionaries and those in the stories about the process and setting up the screening of all the stories we worked on during our week in Santiago, Chile. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5000, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 32)]

Guess what? When it comes to business and communications in general this is a problem for everyone. When you have something to sell you are often like a person with Autism. You have a really hard time to meet people where they are. People often are talking about everything they know about their product, but not understanding at all where your audience are in the moment and in relationship to the product they are selling.

One huge thing people who are in business and Autism have in common is often lacking an understanding of self.

We are so into our thoughts that we are not thinking about how we are coming across to others [AUDIENCE].

Two common themes I heard through my life is that first I need to learn to meet people where they are in the moment. Secondly most everyone said that once people got to know me they appreciated me so much more.

When you are in communications or sales you cannot survive very long with these characteristics. You need to be seen as a person who cares for others. You need to be seen as someone who is interested in others and not just yourself.

Emily Tromp, closest to camera works on her story as Bill Bangham, & James Dockery help Jennifer Nelson with editing her story. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 28)]

The hardest part of storytelling is not knowing your subject or peeling the onion to get the best story. The hardest part of storytelling is meeting the audience where they are with the story.

Stanley Leary

You need to do as much research understanding your audience’s knowledge of the subject as you do about your story/product.

Files were are transferred on July 4, 2019 and each team member flew back to their corner of the US. The big celebration was Wednesday July 3rd as each of the team shared their video during our Grand Premiere at the International Headquarters of Association of Baptist for World Evangelism. Missions staff, families and friends joined to see the 8 videos we’ve produced in the past two weeks. Each team member shared testimonies of what God has done in our hearts in the process of connecting to the hearts of the Chilean believers who shared their stories with us.

When it comes to storytelling for nonprofits you are always going to have a “Call to Action” at the end of the story. Now that you have heard this story here is how you can get involved.

People take action to work with a nonprofit because of a few things.

  • They have a skill the nonprofit needs
  • They have a heart for the purpose of the nonprofit
  • They have someone who is involved with the nonprofit that they care about [ie..family or friend who they want to support]

In narrative storytelling the hero of the story, the subject, has a problem that they cannot solve on their own. They need some help. Either they have someone to help them like a mentor or some sort of a resource that helps them overcome the adversity and become better because of this process.

Many nonprofits are about providing education. They need teachers, administrators and others to help run a school. When telling a story of someone they helped this helps to tell what they do and invite others to help them continue doing this with even more people. If the audience has people who have worked in education in some way they may see themselves wanting to be part of the organization. A teacher who just finished 30 years teaching and retired in their early 50s may want to go and teach in a nonprofit and give back.

The key is the storyteller must know what the audience can do to be a part of the success of the future story of the organization.

Pastor Rodrigo Cisternas is in front of his church. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/125, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Once you understand your audience you now know how to meet them where they are and tell the story in a way that helps them to see how they are part of the solution.

Here are some questions to make you think about if you are engaging your audience as a storyteller.

  • Have you had to change the story because of the audience?
  • Have you asked questions that you wouldn’t have asked, but the audience may ask when working on a story?
  • Have you ever created a focus group of an audience and asked them what makes them want to participate in a nonprofit?
  • Have you ever created a focus group of an audience and asked them what turns them off about nonprofits?
  • Have you ever dropped a great story because it doesn’t really help the organization?
  • Have you had to talk a client out of doing a story because it doesn’t really engage the audience?

To sum this up, when have you had to adjust how you tell a story because of the audience?