Storytelling has been around since the beginning of civilization. It’s been used to educate, entertain and preserve cultural values for future generations. It exists today to do much of the same; however, the public sector is also using storytelling as an effective strategy to demonstrate transparency and communicate policies.
“Simple statements of fact supplemented by statistics isn’t enough when communicating with the public,” according to Governing.com® columnists Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene. The key to getting the message across is with data storytelling. This approach goes beyond data and combines it with visuals and anecdotes to provide the big picture. Learn how public sector storytelling and government swag can strengthen your communications.
Public sector storytelling + government giveaways = an informed public
If your government agency is looking to use storytelling to share, educate and connect with citizens, check out these ideas:
- Communicate impact: Your community members want transparency. Storytelling can be a great way to share how government dollars are being used to fund programs that benefit the community and its citizens. Post a story on social channels outlining how the addition of a roundabout decreased traffic crashes. Or how adding a bike lane had a direct effect on the number of citizens who bike to work. Enhance your story by imprinting key points on auto-friendly first-aid kits or bike lights. Encourage friends and followers to share their own story for a chance to win these or other government swag.
- Connect with citizens: Without a doubt, your agency’s employees make a difference every day. Use storytelling to share some of your staff’s good deeds. Ask satisfied customers for a video testimonial you can share on your agency’s website and social media channels. A logo’d giveaway, such as a tumbler with straw or flashlight/stylus, make a nice thank you for participants and staff.
- Get personal: Statistics are powerful, but citizens are much more than numbers. If stats are a large part of your presentation, be sure to put a face to your figures with storytelling. Tell the tale of a recent pet rescue performed by your area humane society, or about the woman who gained independence after seeking assistance from your local aging-services office. You can drive your story home by imprinting brochures and banners with the faces and stories of the real people you’re helping.
The facts alone are no longer enough when it comes to communicating with the public. Storytelling adds visuals and narrative to provide a more complete picture to those you serve.