For five years Chea Chok sat by the shade of a tree in his yard outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia making fireworks by putting explosive ingredients into makeshift tubes. Then one day his attention slipped for just a minute and he thinks he probably added too much of one ingredient.
The firework exploded, badly burning Chea Chok’s left hand and right eye. Unconscious, he was driven to a hospital 40-km away, where part of his arm was amputated. His eye, turned light blue, is now useless.
This is the start of a story I wrote in 2002 when I was in Cambodia. Let me be clear. When I write the word story, I mean a true tale, nonfiction. I’ve never forgotten talking to him about it about a year after the accident, when, for lack of options, he was back at his trade.
Why It’s Important for Organizations to Tell Their Own Stories
I believe stories like this can be found everywhere, whether you work for a nonprofit or a business. You just need to spend enough time with the people you are helping to be able to find them. I understand this can be difficult, especially if it’s not part of your regular job description. It’s often easy to get bogged down with daily duties.
In other instances, media relations managers focus their attention on getting the organization’s message out to the media. While this is fine, someone in your organization should also be aware that a big part of what you should be doing is telling stories to your audience directly. This allows your audience to feel a greater connection to you. (By the way, this is what big brands are doing. I’m going to write a separate post on that soon as well).