Digital Persuasion Action Rule 3: Numbers numb, but stories get stored. Become an expert storyteller to create connections and drive action

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Digital Persuasion Action Rule 3: Numbers numb, but stories get stored. Become an expert storyteller to create connections and drive action

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#DigitalPersuasion Rule 3: Numbers numb, but stories get stored. Thoughts from @WomenforWomen (client)

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Colleen Zakrewsky, vice-president of development, Women for Women International

Women for Women International

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 12:30pm

CAMPAIGN: Report: Digital Persuasion


Digital Persuasion in Action Rule 3: How Women for Women International Uses Social Media to Tell Stories that Create Connections and Drive Action

By John Trybus

“The single thing all women need in the world is inspiration, and inspiration comes from storytelling.”

–Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International

Innovation starts with a big idea, but it’s telling the story of an innovation that brings it to life and makes it memorable. At Waggener Edstrom (WE), storytelling is at the heart of what we do. We believe that the one constant in the ever-changing world of influence is the power of stories—both online and offline.

Our client, Women for Women International (WfWI) is the perfect embodiment of our storytelling philosophy. For the past twenty years, WfWI has used stories to create connections and drive action to help women survivors of war move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency. We recently sat down with Colleen Zakrewsky, the organization’s vice-president of development, marketing and communications, to discuss how WfWI uses stories to help advance the inherent strength of women in post-conflict countries and discuss how social media is used to share stories and create online communities of supporters around the world.

Storytelling matters. WE’s Digital Persuasion study, conducted in partnership with Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC), revealed that of the respondents who take further action in support of a cause after supporting it online, reading a story on social media was the #1 motivator at more than 50%. WfWI uses storytelling techniques on social media to advance its mission. Colleen shared that using social media to help tell the story of a woman’s transformation helps supporters better understand the organization’s work and empowers them to activate their networks.

“While numbers are important, particularly around measuring effectiveness—and that’s an important part of messaging—at the end of the day, people are often inspired by the fact that they can make a difference in one person’s life,” Colleen explains.

How does WfWI tell stories on social media to advance women’s equality in post-war communities around the world?

  • By focusing on impact. WfWI believes stronger women build stronger nations, so when telling stories on social media, the organization often profiles women whose lives have been changed for the better and the impact that change has had on the communities in which they live. WfWI uses numbers to measure the reach of its programs around the world, but it often profiles personal stories of impact to showcase success to help drive fundraising and sponsorships.
  • By empowering a global, social community to tell the organization’s story. Colleen believes (and we agree!) that social media has the power to create communities all over the world and accelerate change. WfWI’s mission is fulfilled not just through fundraising, but by motivating people to share stories of empowerment or outrage over inequality. WfWI uses social media as a vehicle for expanding this body of voices, creating connections and driving engagement.

Learn more about Women for Women International’s social media for social good strategies and Digital Persuasion in Action rule three in the video below.



John Trybus
+1 (202) 261-7800
Waggener Edstrom
Keywords: #DigitalPersuasion | Social Impact & Volunteering | Cause Marketing | Interactive Marketing | Social Impact & Volunteering | Social Media | Sustainable Marketing | Twitter | Waggener Edstrom | Women for Women International | storytelling

CAMPAIGN: Report: Digital Persuasion