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Writing Effective Success Stories. Kimberly Keller, Ph.D., CFLE Evaluation Coordinator College of Human Environmental Sciences University of Missouri Extension [email protected] Objectives. Define a Success Story, and the rationale for using it

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writing effective success stories

Writing Effective Success Stories

Kimberly Keller, Ph.D., CFLE

Evaluation Coordinator

College of Human Environmental Sciences

University of Missouri Extension

[email protected]

objectives
Objectives
  • Define a Success Story, and the rationale for using it
  • Understand different types of Success Stories
  • Identify key audiences with whom to share Success Stories
  • Develop strategies for communicating Success Stories to different audiences
which is more memorable
Which is more memorable?
  • 89% of Evil Witches hate Princes
  • 71% of Princes have been turned into frogs
  • There are only 38 Princesses in Missouri
  • We need to stop Evil Witches from turning Princes into frogs
success stories are important communication tools
Success Stories are important communication tools
  • Provide a framework for understanding, remembering, and acting on information
  • Prevent your accomplishments from landing in the “circular file”
what is a success story
What is a Success Story?
  • A simple description of a program’s:
    • Progress
    • Achievements
    • Lessons learned
  • A request for action
a success story is not
A Success Story is NOT:
  • Surveillance report
  • Complete evaluation picture
  • Un-biased
why you want a success story
Why you want a Success Story
  • Gain visibility and credibility
  • Educate and promote your program
  • Satisfy information requests and educate stakeholders
  • Garner more support and resources
  • Accountability and evaluation
more uses for success stories
More uses for Success Stories
  • Publicize early successes
  • Market your program to your target population
  • Provide a “face” to numbers
  • Show progress when planned outcomes will not be realized until the distant future
the 4 knows of success stories
The 4 “Knows” of Success Stories:
  • Know what information you want to tell
  • Know your audience
  • Know to tailor your message to your audience
  • Know your story
know what information you want to tell
Know what information you want to tell
  • Stories range from an overall picture to the personal level
  • Meaning and depth
  • Triangulation of data
  • Used at any point in program progress
tips for identifying content
Tips for identifying content
  • Related to grant objectives:
    • Dietary quality and physical activity
    • Food safety
    • Food resource management
  • Related to site access
  • Related to delivery methods
2 know your audience
2. Know your audience
  • Activity:
    • Each ITV site will be assigned to one of four groups
    • 3 Success Stories will be presented
    • Rate each presentation from the viewpoint of your assigned group
possible audiences
Participating program sites

Potential program sites

Parents

Extension councils

Supervisors

Colleagues

Partnering agencies

Funders

Media

Legislators and other policymakers

… etc.!

Possible audiences:
3 know to tailor your message to your audience
3. Know to tailor your message to your audience
  • What is important to them?
  • Hot topics, key words and phrases
  • Time available to hear / read your story
  • Consider what information you want to tell
choosing the correct format
Choosing the correct format
  • Elevator story
  • Paragraph spotlight
  • One-pager
  • Full brief
  • Published article
using one basic success story with multiple audiences
Using one basic Success Story with multiple audiences
  • Good idea!
  • Ideas for creating different stories using the same information:
    • Quotes
    • Emphasizing different details of the same event
    • Use of pictures or illustrations
    • Reading level, key words (jargon)
constructing the story before you begin
Constructing the story: Before you begin
  • Before you get started, ask:
    • Who is your audience?
    • What is the goal of the story?
    • Will the story be used for a chance meeting? A request for information? Other…?
    • Is the story timely?
write for your reader not for yourself
Write for your reader, not for yourself
  • Always show a benefit
  • Memorable fact/truth
  • Emotional hook
  • Paint a picture
  • Sense of immediacy
  • The ASK
typical outline
Typical Outline
  • Title with a VERB
  • Define the problem – what is the issue?
  • Program description
  • Impact statement and the ASK
  • Contact information
it s your turn
It’s your turn!
  • Create 2 Success Stories based on the same information:
    • Elevator statement
    • Paragraph spotlight
4 know your story
4. Know your story
  • And let others know about it!
  • Practice your Success Stories and share them with others
final tips
Final tips:
  • Be prepared
  • Know your audience
  • Be systematic and consistent
  • Know which issues are hot and why
  • Have several different types of Success Stories ready at all times
  • Periodically update your Success Stories
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