storytelling Posts

How to Use Storytelling to Drive Funds to your Project

How to Use Storytelling to Drive Funds to your Project

Magy Kaleynska is a current GlobalGiving Ambassador for Bulgaria. Our amazing Ambassadors are individuals who work at one of our nonprofit partners that apply to represent GlobalGiving in their respective countries for a year. They foster and grow their nonprofit community through activities such as hosting workshops, meet-ups of local GlobalGiving partners, and conducting site visits. Magy shared the following insights with us. 

GlobalGiving believes that the most effective organizations are learning organizations and thus our team puts great effort in helping you learn faster by engaging in the continuous cycle of progress: Listening, Acting, Learning, and Repeating. One of the most import cycles is the storytelling one as it is the one feedback tool that can actually lead to receiving more funds and finding more supporters for your project, both here on GlobalGiving and in your work in general.

Creating Wealth Among Kenyan Youth

Creating Wealth Among Kenyan Youth

Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP) has been a GlobalGiving partner since 2010. They have participated in storytelling for multiple years and designed their project from that process. Recently they shared their insights with us. 

Eunice, 23 years old, resides in Kiambiu and works as a hairdresser and beautician. She was one of the vocational training students for VAP’s 2014 cohort. Soon after completing her course, she was referred to Emma’s salon for a job placement as a hairdresser.

Her greatest joy is the fact that she doesn’t create a living for herself but for her sibling as well. ‘’I always wished to do hairdressing but I didn’t have the money to pursue my dream. In Mrembo salon, I learned both beauty and hairdressing and it has been of great help in my life. I’m now earning some money, I get paid on commission. I don’t earn a lot but the little I get covers my upkeep, pays my rent, and I help out a little bit with my family especially my little brother who I help with school fees. I would like to have my own salon and a beauty shop and currently I am saving towards that’’.

Karuna Trust: What’s Lost in Translation in Conversations About Youth Dreams

Karuna Trust: What’s Lost in Translation in Conversations About Youth Dreams

Karuna Trust is a recipient of our 2015 Feedback Fund. Recently, they shared these insights with us.

As part of our work with partners in India and Nepal, Karuna Trust collected stories from the beneficiaries of the projects we’re supporting. It helps demonstrate the tangible change that the projects can bring to young people and their families. So we were excited to receive funding from GlobalGiving to try their storytelling method with two of our education projects – the Amaravati Hostel and Green Tara Trust. After discussing with our partners and GlobalGiving, we agreed to focus on exploring the hopes and dreams of young people. We wanted to find out what their ambitions were for their future, what they imagined their lives to be like, and what challenges they were facing. We hoped to create a picture where we could see form the results what extra support the young people might be requiring and this would help us to refine our work further.

The 2015 GlobalGiving Video Contest!

It’s here, GlobalGiving’s fourth annual Video Contest!  Every year the GlobalGiving team and our donors are blown away by the amazing submissions. Telling your project’s story through a short film is a great way to inspire donors and give them insight into your work. Read on to learn more about creating an effective short film and details about the contest. We can’t wait to watch your video!

Video Training: Not your Everyday Webinar

Our friends at What Took You So Long Foundation (WTYSL) were kind enough to make an educational video filled with tips on telling projects’ stories through film. This eye catching instructional video offers 34 tips and examples for creating short films about non-profit organizations and international projects. You don’t want to miss it! Click here to watch.

Inspired by WTYSL’s work? We are too! Click here to learn more about this incredible team. You can also learn more about What Took You So Long? by:


So now that you are an expert film maker you may need a little inspiration to get started. Take a look at last year’s grand prize winner, the SOLD project, here.

Tohoku Stories: A Year in Review of the Japan Storytelling Project

We continue our series on story-centered learning with an update on our efforts to hear from those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.


We wanted to understand how people and organizations tried to help communities in Tohoku since the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. From July 2013 to present (December 2014) we have collected over 2,000 stories from individuals about the activities that people engaged in following the disaster in Tohoku, Japan. These stories are being collected in order to further support local organizations that continue to provide needed assistance to the affected areas. The project is administered by the Israeli-based NGO IsraAid (IA) and its Japanese affiliate the Japan IsraAid Support Program (JISP).

The storytelling team held workshops at over 20 schools and universities. After, participants conducted interviews among themselves or completed paper forms. The storytelling team also volunteered in everything from debris removal to being a camp counselor for children. Participating in volunteer activities enabled the scribe to earn trust. Volunteering together with people in the disaster region, the Storytelling Project both assists people in the disaster region and collects information about how to assist them further. Please read the translated blog about some of their activities: They also have a Facebook page with routine updates about their activities: As a reward for participation, respondents were given a cute bendable pen.

The stories discuss 803 different organizations/people. Individual people and local organizations accounted for the majority (55%) of efforts captured in stories. Here is a word cloud of everything discussed. These words are translated from Japanese:

Further analysis using GlobalGiving’s tools on revealed 10 themes: mental health activities, children’s activities, community center activities, temporary housing activities, school based projects, radiation concerns, disaster stories, volunteer activities, internet-based activities, fundraising, and donations.

Using these themes and others, Prof. Takehiko Ito of Wako University and the Japan Storytelling Project director, Keith Goldstein, are preparing a publication for the March 2015 International Society of Life Information Science Conference in Tokyo. The paper is entitled: “Tohoku Stories: Identifying Happy Themes of Disaster Relief”.

We gathered lessons from many perspectives to create a multi-faceted view of the disaster recovery.


  • The majority of activities are organized by a small circle of staff and large circle of volunteers. Organizations are primarily based in Tokyo or Tohoku. Often staff in Tohoku are originally from Tokyo, Kansai, and other regions.
  • Organizations that continue to be effective succeed by collaborating with other organizations. Collaboration with pro-bono legal teams is especially important, as foreign fundraising has exponentially decreased and domestic support is contingent on bureaucratic regulations.


  • Many people from outside Tohoku (especially from Tokyo) would like to participate in future volunteer activities but lack information on where to volunteer and what they can do.
  • Volunteers often spend their personal expenses to make trips to Tohoku, which cost about 30,000 yen ($300) per weekend. More support is needed to alleviate these personal costs to enable them to volunteer more.

Recipients of aid:

  • Greater advocacy and lobbying work is needed to represent the interests of locals who feel that government policy is not working in their best interests. Current construction projects and future initiatives to rebuild often contradict the wishes of local residents (sea walls, community centers, etc.)
  • More long-term projects in education, economic development, and psycho-social support are needed. A large number of projects ceased working after the first year. Many organizations burned through funding that was slated on a yearly basis with the hope of getting a renewal. After 3 years the majority of programs were discontinued.


  • Support for the elderly is one of the most pressing needs in Tohoku at the moment. Temporary housing units are populated primarily by elderly, whose physical, mental, and emotional conditions are quickly deteriorating.
  • Discrimination is a big problem felt by residents of Fukushima. People don’t want to visit Fukushima, buy products from there, or have relationships with people from there. Local residents feel this is unfair, as there are radiation checks and other neighboring prefectures are often equally affected. While internal solidarity is expressed by locals, subliminal comments hint at high levels of anxiety and growing frustration. Numerous mentions of suicide by local farmers and others were discussed.

See for yourself: (Note that because this form was translated from Japanese and uses slightly modified questions, not all story analysis tools on will work with this data set.)

Tell us a story:

In order to further facilitate data collection, the storytelling team also developed a DIY survey.

Have you heard about an interesting project that helps people in Tohoku? If so, please fill out this short online 3 minute questionnaire to tell us about activities that you know about:


We at GlobalGiving believe that effective disaster relief begins by hearing from the people most affected by the earthquake, flood, storm, civil war, or other catastrophic event directly. We are grateful to IsraAid for their effort to help the people of Japan speak, and hopeful that all future disaster recovery efforts will include a mechanism for voices from the ground to inform what happens.