What Makes a Good Story with Shereese Floyd

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Listen on Apple | Listen on Spotify

This episode is presented by Instil, a nonprofit platform built to leverage the power of modern technology to help nonprofits do their best work. Instil holistically manages supporters including donors, members, and volunteers to deepen nonprofit connections with their community, increase revenue, and maximize impact. Learn more here.

Storytelling is a FUNDAMENTAL part of marketing. But what makes a good story?

When we hear stories, we feel compelled to give and to care about certain issues. And this is where today’s guest Shereese Floyd shines. Shereese is an award-winning speechwriter, TEDx speaker, and businesswoman who has been recognized for her creativity in storytelling and brand messaging. In fact, she’s helped organizations raise over $2 million dollars.

Get your notepads ready, y’all! This conversation is jam-packed with a ton of tactical tips to integrate into your organization.

How you can become the greatest story ever told

There is so much power in storytelling. 

Shereese Floyd can tell you firsthand – in her early days as a Development Director at a nonprofit organization, all it took was one great story to inspire a $100/ year donor into giving a $25,000 gift.

When there’s so much noise in the world, it’s important to tell an authentic and honest story with some vulnerability. It has to be the kind of story where someone sits up in their seat and takes notice. You’re pulling them into a narrative that they can believe in and buy into.

Usually, there’s more beneath the surface, and when Shereese is interviewing someone, she aims to get them out of their head and into their heart by making them feel comfortable and at ease. 

There is one question that will unlock the story and get to the core of it. She’ll ask questions that start with how did you feel…?

How did you feel when you got laid off?

How did you feel when you lost your support system?

Shereese’s 3-step process to building good stories

Whether you’re scheming ideas for a video script, a big event, or the about page of your website, there is a simple, 3-step process Shereese applies to build a powerful story.

  1. Discover what the story is. Beyond who you need to interview, what is the expected result from the story?
  2. Dig into the shaping process. This is the nitty gritty part of the process where you’ll review your entire collection of data and turn it into a sellable product. Where is the emotional arc of the story? Is there a rise and a fall?
  3. Figure out where you’re going to share it! Where do you want the story to go and how does it need to land with your intended audience?

Most importantly, Shereese encourages us not to leave our stories hanging on the “fall.” It’s a disservice to not bring them back up to a feeling of hope – something positive where they can see themselves through the lens of the story, even if the story has nothing to do with what they’ve personally experienced in their lives.

3 storytelling styles to stay away from

There are three types of stories we shouldn’t be telling. 

The first is an exploitative story. Shereese recalls a moment when she shared a story of someone who had experienced domestic violence, but hadn’t completely healed to tell the story in the best way.

Shereese still took the story, put it out in the world, and used her name. Ultimately, it was a disaster. 

She also cautions us to avoid telling stories where only the nonprofit is benefitting, like a hero story or a happily ever after style story where a person comes to a nonprofit and all of a sudden their entire life has changed for the better. We know there’s many more layers to it than that!

Tune in to the rest of the episode to hear Shereese’s suggested stories we SHOULD be telling.

Shereese’s Ask

“I definitely want to get in front of more nonprofit audiences. Podcasts that are looking for guests around storytelling, even conferences that are looking for speakers around storytelling. I do this in all forms from onboarding to talking about stories of clients to talking about thought leadership, anything that’s story related.”

Connect with Shereese on LinkedIn if you have a speaking opportunity for her.

Notable Quotes from Shereese

“Becoming the greatest story ever told is about telling an authentic and honest story, and it always has some level of vulnerability that makes people sit up and take notice. You’re really just pulling people into a narrative that they can understand, a narrative that they can believe in and ultimately buy into.”

Resources & Links

Is your CRM working for you? Join me at my FREE webinar with Instil on September 28th where you’ll learn how to audit your existing CRM technology and understand what features are important to have.

Learn more about Shereese and her work at Witness My Life and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Boys Town saves children and is a great example of the power of storytelling. Shereese also recommends we follow @thekoreanvegan on TikTok for her amazing stories and delicious food.

Episode 14: The Pursuit of Justice Through Digital with Alicia Maule

Episode 13: Every 7 Seconds Matters – How To Move the Masses with Invisible Children Co-Founder Jason Russell

Want to make Missions to Movements even better? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram. Be sure to tag @positivequation so I can connect with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Want to learn some more tips for improving your online presence? Follow along on social!