Here’s a recent news story showing how storytelling changed an organisation and the lives of the people it served.
Far too many people using Manchester’s mental health and social care services weren’t getting the help they desperately needed. Complaints about care, communications and staff were massive but nothing was changing. Each month the board met, looked at the numbers, did the maths and carried on as before.
Until the Head of Patient Experience took action. He made a series of short films of service users telling their story, and took them to the board. In his words “…there was pure silence in the room. We saw people rub their eyes, and look around the room awkwardly. It was clear then that we’d made the emotional connection between the service user and the board.”
These films are shown once a month at board meetings and throughout the organisation. Since they started they’ve seen a massive 45% reduction in complaints about care and a 20% drop in complaints about both communication and staff attitude. Hearing the stories behind the statistics galvanized the board to take action.
Our sector needs to do the same. The ‘Great Fundraising’ report issued by Clayton Burnett earlier this year found many organisations had failed to meet their fundraising targets for several years. It had got to the point that it was now assumed the target would not be met and that it was acceptable not to meet it!
Acceptable not to hit target?! Look into the eyes of your beneficiaries and say that! The trouble is too few of us do. Let’s learn the lesson from Manchester’s mental health and social care services and stop hiding behind statistics, mission statements and jargon. After all, if these things don’t move us how are we ever to move the public?