10 Tips for Boosting Community Engagement & Story Sharing

  1. Simplify your ask
    • Don’t make the ask overwhelming. Simple and specific is best.
    • For example, rather than asking for a 3-minute video of the hardest time in someone’s life, instead try asking for a 10-second share on why their transformation has made them better. It could also be as simple as “XYZ organization is important to me because…”
  1. Keep your ask short & provide a deadline
    • People are more likely to participate when they can share something quick. This also makes the end content easier to consume.
    • Deadlines drive participation. Consider including a date in your campaign description or somewhere front and center to encourage your community to share with that deadline in mind.
  1. Show an example
    • Include 1-2 example pieces of content when you make your ask so people understand what you’re asking for and how easy it is to participate. These examples can come from staff or some of your most engaged supporters and fans.
  1. Tell a diverse story
    • Consider all the viewpoints you want to share. Multiple voices, multiple angles.
    • Sharing authentically makes the content relatable to your audience and builds trust. Testimonies don’t need to be over-produced or too polished.

  2. Bake your asks into existing process
    • Consider your existing touchpoints where your community is already actively engaged with you and build your requests for content into these places. 
    • Newsletters, interviews, internal meetings, external meetings, events – can you collect content during these? Rather than coming up with new systems, because that means changing routines, talk to other departments and colleagues and get to know what they’re doing. Where can you insert story collection? 
    • Some possibilities:
      1. QR codes at on-site events
      2. Post-event recap emails
      3. iPad/tablet on site with a volunteer going around to attendees to collect stories
      4. Distribute printed PDF with instructions on how to share story
      5. Social media call for story sharing
  1. Real time capture
    • In the moment when action is happening is when your community most primed to participate
    • Not everybody is the best at recalling emotion after the fact. But when you can watch someone actively engage in the activity that shows your mission in real-action (i.e. watching someone dig a hole and plant a tree)
  1. Multiple touchpoints
    • Ask multiple times through multiple avenues. If you don’t get them on first ask, ask again. Often people need to see something multiple times before they take action.
  1. Designate a point person who can oversee collection
    • Intentionally walk participants through the process. Help guide them and be very hands on
    • Utilize your volunteers as ambassadors. Volunteers tied to your cause tend to connect instantly with the community and make participants feel more comfortable.
  1. Think first person
    • What would make you respond to a prompt?
  1. Incentivize participation
    • If possible, try offering something in exchange for someone sharing their testimony.
    • At the least, show the full circle impact. Once you’ve shared the content collected, go back to the people who shared testimony with you and show them how you used their content (in a social media post, in newsletter feature, etc). This creates a sense of ownership and full circle buy-in for future asks. For those who didn’t share, it shows them how easy participating in the future can be.