Skip to main content

The power of human stories: how to be an authentic storyteller


28 February 2019

From the beginnings of language, stories have helped us understand ourselves and the world around us. They have a place in every culture and create a sense of community among listeners and tellers.

Charities have an abundance of incredible stories, that if told well, can spark imagination, passion and the most loyal support. They can also help charities to bring people together and solidify abstract concepts and complex messages.

However, 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.

With a range of talks, workshops and peer discussions this conference explored the ethical considerations and practical techniques for finding, crafting and telling your stories.


The people behind your pictures- telling complete stories – Tamsin Maunder, head of brand and creative and Jess Crombie, humanitarian communications consultant

Creating and activating Scope’s brand story – Danielle Wootton, head of marketing, Scope

Reaching new audiences with storytelling on Instagram and IGTV – Oscar Mackenzie, social media manager, WaterAid

Who cares anyway? Developing shareable content – Ellie Moore, head of engagement and Joe Wade, CEO, Don’t Panic

Co-creating content with the real people in your stories – Jemma Sullivan, senior brand manager and Emma Hetherington, head of content and news, Diabetes UK

Finding new ways to tell vulnerable young people’s stories – David Pettet, head of creative, The Children’s Society

Bringing your brand to life: helping people to tell their stories honestly – Shree Rajani, head of communications, Versus Arthritis

From raw content to stand out stories – Chris Flood, content and search lead, Cancer Research UK

How to tell stories on social media – Rich Ward, social media manager, RNLI

Supporting people with lived experience to tell their own stories – Jude Habib, founder, sounddelivery and Darren Murinas, chief executive , Expert Citizens CIC

How to unleash your inner storyteller – tips from the arts – Robert Holtom, narrative coach and writer

Channelling stories up from the frontline – establishing lines of communication – Beth Gardner, assistant director of engagement and Hayley Tomkinson, stories manager, Anthony Nolan

Photography: staying on the right side of the law and protecting your subjects – Mark Gorman, commissioning manager and Jennifer Illinesi, multimedia projects officer, Girlguiding

How can we bring authentic stories to life on-screen? – Abi Mellor, client services director, Morever

Further reading recommended by our speakers

  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • Persuasive copywriting by Andy Maslen
  • The Non-Profit Narrative by Dan Portnoy
  • Story Factor by Annette Simmons
  • Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs
  • Writing Without A Parachute by Barbara Turner-Vesselago
  • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
  • The Art of Storytelling by Nancy Mellon

Other useful resources

Tweets from the day