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CharityComms Storyfest

Available On-Demand

£20 + VAT for members
£50 + VAT for non-members
Free for CharityComms small charity* members
*Turnover up to £2 million classifies as small charity

Booking terms & conditions

Attend event

If you are a CharityComms member, you can watch this event on demand for a fee by clicking ‘attend event’ above and registering your details. You will automatically be sent the link to the videos and the password. Contact us if you have any problems accessing the videos.

If you are a non-member, you can access the event on demand by clicking ‘attend event’ above, registering your details and paying by credit card. You will automatically be sent the link to the videos and the password. Contact us if you have any problems accessing the videos.

About the event

Our storytelling event took place in July 2020, and it’s now available for you to watch on demand!

It was a brand new three-day online festival, complete with sideshows, panel discussions, breakout chats, live talks, and lots of fun too. We brought together our wonderful members for a celebration of great charity storytelling.

Your ticket will provide on demand access to all three days of the great content we shared at the event. 

Why access this content? 
Stories are one of the charity sector’s biggest assets. A well-told story can create wonder and delight. It can cut to the core of your values to drive immersive and emotional experiences that spark imagination, passion, and the most loyal support.

Behind every story is a person with real fears, hopes, vulnerabilities and futures. As charity comms professionals we must tell stories honestly, openly, and authentically, all the while protecting the people who lend us their stories.

At this event we explored all of this, plus how lockdown is changing the ways in which we gather and tell stories. We also explored the challenges, solutions and hard-won successes of charity storytellers navigating their way through this new and shifting landscape. 

What we covered:

  • Filmmaking during lockdown: lessons learnt and top tips
  • How to make user generated content work for you
  • Supporting people with lived experience to tell their own stories
  • How charities are managing story gathering during lockdown
  • How to create a culture of storytelling within your organisation
  • Techniques for developing powerful narratives
  • Building relationships with your storytellers: from initial meeting to aftercare
  • Finding ways to tell vulnerable people’s stories
Day 1
Storytelling Sideshow
Welcome and Housekeeping

Vanessa Weddell 
head of events, CharityComms

Live talk with Q&A: Think. Feel. Do – how to drive real world action through storytelling

A good, well-told story isn’t always enough. Learn why it’s important to tell the right story in the right way to drive the desired action – and how insight and evidence can help improve the effectiveness of your storytelling. Using her 20 years’ experience as a journalist and with organisations such as Save the Children and WWF, Nicole will share fundraising and campaigning examples to explore how we can tell powerful stories and make them work harder. She will also look at ways we can better measure impact to help prove internally that investment in storytelling is worth the cost.

Nicole Itano
executive director, tve (television for the environment)

Live talk with Q&A: User generated content – lessons learnt during lockdown

User Generated Content (UGC) has never been so relevant, ubiquitous or powerful as a storytelling tool. With experience gleaned from their award-winning UGC based films (for clients such as Diabetes UK and the Stroke Association) Morever will share insights and ways of working which help engage, build interest, and lead to successful results for fundraising and brand awareness. Morever will show you how to build a package of content, even during lockdown environments, and the methodologies for working with contributors in such circumstances.

Abi Mellor 
managing director, Morever

Launch of pre-recorded presentations

Stories from the front line – finding hidden treasure at Sightsavers    

Storytelling starts with stories. Not the polished, produced content we end up with, but the gems of information that sparkle every day across projects. Charities are full of them. But capturing them, or even finding out they exist can be tricky – people who witness them usually aren’t the people with the responsibility for telling them. At Sightsavers they’ve built understanding and expertise, and set up systems and process to ensure a flow of insights and stories to feed great comms and fundraising content. The lessons they’ve learnt could help others uncover their hidden treasure.

Kate McCoy
content manager, Sightsavers

Story de-stress

De-stress with a blissful mix of words & mindfulness. Learn about the links between words, story and mindfulness and how they can help you de-stress as well as be a more effective storyteller.  Particularly in these challenging times, working with some of the most vulnerable people in your charity can be stressful. Take some time out for yourself to recharge. This session will help you slow down, feel more present, more connected and creative, with tips and techniques to take away.

Settle into a quiet and comfortable spot and enjoy!

Cath Drake 
story consultant, published poet (‘The Shaking City, Seren Books), mindfulness & poetry teacher, Cath Drake Communications

Day 2
The Main Event

Adeela Warley 
CEO, CharityComms


Vanessa Weddell 
head of events, CharityComms


Adeela Warley 
CEO, CharityComms

Live panel discussion and Q&A: Keeping storytelling alive during lockdown

In this discussion, we’ll explore how charity storytellers are navigating their way through the many challenges that have been thrown at them during lockdown. From how best to manage user generated content remotely to getting stories from the frontline and from pivoting your campaign plans to safeguarding and consent in a time when we can’t meet in person.

Alicia Melville-Smith
stories manager, British Red Cross

Nana Crawford 
social media manager, British Red Cross

Phil Marsh
stories manager, Age UK

Lucy Shaverin
stories manager, Maggie's

Adeela Warley 
CEO, CharityComms

Breakout chats: storytelling challenges during lockdown and beyond

As always, CharityComms events are packed with delegates who know their onions when it comes to communications and storytelling. This is your opportunity to bring challenges and burning issues to a small group for discussion.   

Tea break challenge

Make yourself a cuppa. Maybe even dig out a fancy biscuit. But on your travels to the kitchen, please find your best festival hat. When you’re back at your computer you can enjoy a colourful display of hats while you sip your tea. You’ll be able to network on Zoom Chat – why don’t you tell us your favourite festival story?    

Prepare to have your thinking challenged. In this panel discussion, we’ll be exploring why we need a new approach to supporting our storytellers. Our guests will offer practical insights and tips for how to shift your storytelling culture to offer a better experience for all and a way more strategic approach in the long term. Former journalist and CEO, Nathalie McDermott joins us as guest chair, from On Road Media – an organisation dedicated to bringing people and media organisations together to inspire better content of communities that are misrepresented.

Jess Crombie
consultant and lecturer on documentary image making and ethics, London College of Communication

Nathalie McDermott
CEO, On Road Media

Tanaka Mhishi
playwright, university lecturer, poet and media volunteer, Freelance

Twimukye Macline Mushaka
senior fieldwork development officer, The Poverty Alliance

Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir 
columnist at Metro UK, co-creator at My Generation and advisor for All About Trans?

Live talk:  Storytelling tips from a life of adventure: from champion breath-holder to human swan

Drawing on tales from her incredible conservation adventures from across the world, Sacha will share the lessons she has learnt about storytelling. Focusing on her ground-breaking ‘Flight of the Swans’ expedition, which saw her fly by paramotor from Arctic Russia to the UK to help save the swan. We’ll explore what makes an awe-inspiring story and how we can incorporate storytelling into culture in order to capture imaginations and provoke action. We’ll also look at how framing people as heroes in your stories can open up support in some unexpected places and how challenging your own limits is an important part of storytelling.

Sacha Dench
UN Ambassador for Migratory Species (CMS), Co-founder & CEO, Conservation without Borders

Close and launch of pre-recorded presentations to watch at your leisure:

Storytelling from the Rainforest

The Rainforest Foundation has been telling stories from remote parts of Africa since long before lockdown. In her talk, Rachel will tell us how they have been doing this on a shoestring budget and offer practical tips for how our charities can do the same in the current situation. From making cost-effective animations to conducting remote forest location interviews and directing partners – we’ll hear the inside story. Rachel has directed communications at the Rainforest Foundation for the past seven years. As a former journalist, audio-visual naturally became a focus of hers as an impactful way of getting complex messages across and inspiring action amongst donors.

Rachel Parker
head of media and communications, The Rainforest Foundation UK

Changing the story at the British Heart Foundation (BHF)

The BHF is one of the most valuable charity brands in the UK, but do you know what it does? Historically, it spoke about its mission to win the fight against cardiovascular disease. But if it continued to tell this story, would it be able to raise much-needed funds? In July 2018, it launched a new proposition to ‘beat heartbreak forever’ where it began speaking about the full breadth of BHF’s research. From vascular dementia to stroke and heart failure, some of the world’s most feared diseases were under the microscope. In this session, Kim talks about how changing the research story impacted the brand metrics – increasing them to the highest levels since records began.           

Kimberley Ferguson
brand manager, Christian Aid

Resourceful storytelling at Haven’s Hospices

Storytelling forms the backbone of Havens Hospices’ brand, ‘Making every day count.’ It uses stories from patients, families, volunteers, employees and supporters to demonstrate its impact and vision. In this talk, we’ll hear how Amy’s small and busy team manages the charity’s storytelling work. From how it efficiently services multiple teams with its quarterly content packs, to repurposing content to make it work harder. We’ll also hear about how they have built up trust with their Care Teams, alongside tight consent and approval processes, to ensure they capture experiences ‘in real time.’

Amy Dearing
head of marketing and digital, Havens Hospices

Day 3
Storytelling Sideshow

Vanessa Weddell 
head of events, CharityComms

Live talk with Q&A: Real people, real stories and social media… at the NSPCC

Behind every story is a person with real fears, hopes, vulnerabilities and futures. As charity comms professionals we must tell stories honestly, openly, and authentically, all the while protecting the people who lend us their stories. In this talk we’ll hear how the NSPCC tells the stories of survivors of abuse. They’ll share how they work sensitively with people with lived experience giving them ownership of their stories and maximising impact. They’ll highlight specific examples of how they bring these stories to life over social media and film.

Lorrin Braddick
creative director, NSPCC Studio

Ruth McDermott
senior real life story and content specialist, case studies team, NSPCC

Poppy Stalker
Social Media Moderator , NSPCC

Live talk with Q&A: #NeverMoreNeeded – using storytelling to build a powerful case for support

The charity sector has been never more needed and never more stretched as it strives to cope with the impacts of coronavirus. In this talk, we hear how Forster is working on the #NeverMoreNeeded sector campaign to increase pressure on the government to support the sector. Peter and Ayesha will talk through the vital role of stories in making the message of the campaign resonate, and outline techniques for using storytelling to build a powerful case for support for any cause or organisation.

Peter Gilheany 
charity director, Forster Communications

Ayesha Gardiner
consultant, Forster Communications

Launch of pre-recorded presentations

Practical tips for getting colleagues excited about storytelling

Sharing personal stories is a powerful tool to demonstrate the charity’s impact – they can help to engage with new audiences, inspire others to get involved and can increase donations. However it can be difficult to find these stories. Francesca will share with you her top tips for getting colleagues excited about storytelling.

Francesca is currently furloughed and therefore delivering this presentation on a voluntary basis. She’ll be using examples from her experience at Bowel Cancer UK, which she has found successful in other roles.

Francesca Corbett
press manager, Bowel Cancer UK

The Art of the Narrative

This webinar will focus on creating engaging presentations through storytelling. A strong narrative can create an emotional connection to your communications. Discover how classic story arc structure – from Beowulf to Star Wars can entertain, inspire and compel your audience.

Chris Tomlin
storytelling & discovery director, Buffalo 7

Who is this event for?

Relevant job titles could include: press managers, copywriters, story managers, social media mangers, comms officers, campaigners, fundraisers, and anyone who is looking to develop their storytelling skills and approach.


Morever is an awesome and award winning multi-skilled team that strives to deliver remarkable creative work for charities and brands. Morever specialise in visual storytelling through film, animation and motion graphics. Gold winners at this year’s Charity Film Awards, Morever have specialist expertise in authentic storytelling. Amongst others, we work with: Greenpeace, Blind Veterans UK, Diabetes UK, the Stroke Association, Tommy’s, Breast Cancer Care, Uniting To Combat NTDs, the MS Society, Citizens Advice, Unilever, and The Met Police.

Forster Communications Logo

Forster helps charities and businesses turn their social and environmental ambitions into reality. It has a 24-year heritage of engaging audiences on complex issues through award-winning communications.