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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Amplifying impact: the power of strategic storytelling for voluntary organisations  

This opinion piece is 7 months old

"It is time for charities to embrace the power of their stories"

In the busy landscape of the voluntary sector, the struggle to showcase impactful work often looms large, casting a shadow over the tremendous efforts of local champions fostering community support.

Drawing from my experiences volunteering at the Scottish Tech Army and working with both mental health charity Changes East Lothian and the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC), I have witnessed the unwavering dedication of voluntary organisations in elevating the wellbeing of communities. Yet, the challenge of demonstrating this impact remains a daunting hurdle. 

For many workers in the voluntary sector, the emphasis primarily revolves around the execution of their noble missions, often leaving the vital aspect of highlighting their triumphs overlooked. However, strategic storytelling has the potential to transform the narrative, not just for the organisation but for the entire community. 

By strategically showcasing the work of a voluntary organisation, profound changes can be set in motion. Firstly, it enables the organisation to tangibly exhibit the pressing needs within the community, shedding light on the crucial role of their support. This tangible evidence not only validates their efforts but also illuminates the path forward for further improvements and outreach. 

Secondly, a strategic focus on storytelling can serve as a beacon, highlighting the profile of the voluntary organisation and attracting a wave of engagement. The increased visibility can draw more foot traffic, invite enthusiastic supporters and volunteers, and foster meaningful connections with potential clients, ultimately expanding the reach of their impact. 

Moreover, by celebrating the successes and milestones achieved, voluntary organisations can add a layer of inspiration, instilling a sense of hope and resilience within the community. The acknowledgment of achievements not only uplifts the spirits of those involved but also ignites a spark of optimism, fostering a culture of perseverance and collective growth. 

However, it is crucial to recognise that this approach demands a delicate balance. While dedicated efforts remain the cornerstone of impactful work, the complementary practice of strategic storytelling serves as a catalyst, propelling the trajectory of positive change to newer heights. 

In this narrative lies the potential to not only amplify the impact of voluntary sector work but also cultivate a culture of appreciation and awareness, paving the way for a stronger, more interconnected and resilient community. It is time for voluntary organisations to embrace the power of their stories, for in their narratives lies the essence of transformation and empowerment. 

Marina Ramsay works in communications for Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC)