Storytelling for Charities

Laura KlitschStorytelling for Charities at the Small Charities Coalition

The Magneto Films Storytelling Workshop was wonderfully informative but watch out for the storytelling shark says, Laura Klitsch from the Small Charities Coalition….


The Storytelling Workshop with Magneto Films was a really useful training session, that showed how small charities with very limited budgets can make use of storytelling through video. I thought that videos were usually costly and often only an option for larger organisations but Gaby and Jeremy, founding partners of Magneto Films, quickly showed me otherwise.

Gaby and Jeremy knew exactly what audience they were targeting: small charities with a very limited, restrained budget. They provided very useful and, above all, realistic advice for attendees that could be taken home to their charities and put into practice. As one attendee said it was “a practical workshop that leads you through how to use human stories from your charity to raise awareness of your service and fundraise better”.


The workshop was very interactive and brought all participants together, gently prompting people to contribute and to work through ideas and strategies. People were encouraged to discuss the barriers they encountered within their charity with the collection of stories such as people feeling shy about asking, worries about confidentiality and concerns about giving consent.  Magneto Films then looked for solutions to the problem and explained “If you talk from the heart, you will get some amazing stories”.

What seemed so complex and difficult for charities quickly became something much more attainable; something to achieve through a personal, genuine, empathetic approach. What I thought was interesting about this discussion was the approach Gaby and Jeremy took: integrating the pre-stage of collecting stories and the difficulties attached to it rather than merely focusing upon the actual storytelling and filming.

All of it was useful! It was so helpful to have stories broken down, we hear the word story every day but to break that down and look at the building blocks was very helpful. I particularly liked the idea that a story doesn’t have to be told in linear format.


Storytelling planning advice included the creation of simple storyboards or even a simple Word table to break down the actions and messages for the film. One of the clearest pieces of advice was to start thinking of the visuals at the same time as the words – think about what people in the film are doing as well as saying.

They also spent time encouraging participants to think about emotions – do you want people to feel sad, or to be amused or inspired. As Gaby and Jeremy said “think about what you want people to feel, to do, to think and above all, what information they need to take away”.

The most useful part of the session was the explanation of how to rejig the structure of the film to hold the audience’s attention and I loved seeing lots of  film examples.


One thing that everybody loved was “The Storytelling Shark” – a new way of thinking about the familiar elements of stories – the beginning, middle and the end. Think of your story in three parts – you have the ‘bite’, the thing that hooks you into the story – then you have the ‘body’, where the story develops – and finally the ‘tail’ where the story pays off. It’s simple but effective

Overall, this workshop was very useful and comprehensive and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about storytelling.

Magneto are running more free workshops in September and October 2018 so if you’d like to book one for your charity or you’d like to come to a session with the Small Charities Coalition, then drop Jeremy a line.

If you’re thinking about making a video and you’d like some advice or you’d just like to chat about your project then give Gaby a ring on 020 7274 2986 or email her and say hello!