New learning series: Telling your program story

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Stories are important for every community.

Every night, a different story.

«Any story worth telling relates to real life in some meaningful way.»Jane Espenson

Retelling is a significant technique for transferring knowledge to one another, engaging people, and triggering change. The Wikimedia movement has proven the value of a good story many times. Just look at the Love Dart story or the world acclaimed Wikipedia Zero letter. The time has come to spread this talent further for others to use as well.
Starting October 15, the Learning & Evaluation team will host a new learning series, Telling your program story. If you are a program or project leader and struggle to get your story across in reporting, this is your chance to learn tricks and gather resources to tell a better story. Through some key strategies you can improve not only the way you share about your efforts, but the impact of the work in advancing the movement and how others might benefit from such efforts.


How to report more effectively

One of the primary means for grantees to share stories is a grant report. However, the task of reporting is usually set aside until the last minute, and is not integrated in the flow of work. What is the current report structure? How does it help (or not) to bring out the stories you want people to know? How do you distinguish organizational details and core activities? These topics will be addressed in the first virtual meet-up.
There is more to reporting than meets the eye. You can keep a consistent frame of reference from one report to another by acknowledging the stages of your actions as part of a larger plan. In the second virtual event (planned for mid November), you will learn how to use color coding and infographics, as well as incorporating quotes and multimedia to showcase your work.

This series will also address how to frame your stories better.

The last virtual event that will take place in early December, will focus on how to frame your measures in advance to be able to tell the story you want. The report is most useful when articulated with both a project plan and an evaluation plan. How can reporting become a learning tool, instead of a mandatory page to complete? During this event we will talk about the importance of describing the context of your work, for example, why or how your results are important given the context of your community and situation. We will also discuss one of the biggest challenges, how to report on projects and programs with indirect linkages to outcomes (i.e., Advocacy, Community climate).
The aim of this series is to introduce storytelling as a core method to achieve the movement’s goals.

Why story-telling?

Join the conversation!

We want to support you in telling your stories. With this series, we open the conversation to discover what kind of support you need. We know that the current report structure can fall short when it comes to certain topics and activities. The only way to make it better is by discussing this resource in the community. If you struggle to find the right tone and to tell good stories, join the conversation! Any of the topics mentioned may ring a bell, bring your ideas to the virtual meet-ups and help us build better tools, tailored for every need.
The series is the first step in the development of a new set of tools on reporting-as-storytelling. They will be available on the Evaluation portal by the end of this year.
Bring a chair and get ready… let the story begin!
María Cruz, Community Coordinator of Program Evaluation & Design, Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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Sometimes storytelling is used to cover up facts.
e.g. the mentioned “Wikipedia Zero Letter” is distracting from the fact that Wikipedia Zero is used by the access providers to heavily and tricky undermine net neutrality in developing countries.
Wikipedia becomes a marketing tool for Orange and other Access providers – and nothing sells lies better than the smile of an innocent child.
Storytelling is modern Public Relations. Storytelling is modern propaganda.