Learning patterns/Storytelling for grant reports and proposals: tricks of the trade

A learning pattern for...
Storytelling for grant reports and proposals: tricks of the trade
Male student dramatizing story - NARA - 295168.jpg
problemGood proposals and reports are more than sheer facts and numbers, they tell stories which make people understand what's great about your work.
solutionProposal don't have to be boring - applying some tricks of the trade of the ancient craft called storytelling can make creating and reading grant proposals and reports more fun.
created on07:53, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
status:in progress

What problem does this solve?Edit

How to turn a report into a good and informative story? A good story needs to be simple, emotional, truthful, and real. In order to achieve this, you have to consider who your audience and what your medium is. And you have to come up with a suitable structure for your content.

What is the solution?Edit

Things to considerEdit

  • Elements of a good story:
    • Simple: easy to understand
    • Emotional: humor, pain, or joy
    • Truthful: authentic and believable
    • Real: first hand experience
  • The audience: Good stories have the power to captivate, convince, or convert audiences
    • Determine who your audience is
    • Put yourself in their shoes
    • Tailor your stories for your respective audience
    • Make use of test audiences: share work in progress, exchange with grant officers of the Wikimedia Foundation and other affiliates
  • The prologue: The baseline is the prologue to your story
    • The story starts way before your first proposal
    • Get a feeling for what you achieve with your projects
    • Collect data and information as soon as possible – good documentation is key
    • Provide context about the framework conditions you operate in
  • Inspiration: Always look for fresh stories and new ways to tell them
    • Tell how you solved problems that other people might encounter too
    • Give your volunteers a voice
    • Report on how you tested different solutions to a problem and why you chose the one you did
    • Answer questions with your storytelling
  • The numbers: Numbers/metrics can be protagonists or sidekicks
    • Give them the adequate role that supports your story
    • Numbers and data can serve several purposes
      • Show performance /accountability
      • Support learning
      • Influcence action and values
  • The medium: Take advantage of the fact that the medium for your story is a wiki page
    • Don‘t overload your proposal with details, provide links to background information where necessary
    • Create learning patterns ;-)
    • Use multimedia content where possible

When to useEdit

Any kind of reporting (PEG, APG etc.). We also apply these principles when creating information material (annual report, brochures etc.) for our donors, members, partners, or the general public.


  • the soweego midpoint report[1] is an attempt to apply the #Things to consider, although I recognize it does not implement them all! --Hjfocs (talk) 17:48, 17 January 2019 (UTC)


  • Super useful! Thank you! --Anna Torres (WMAR) (talk) 14:32, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Very clear -- ViraMotorko (WMUA) (talk) 06:45, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Great advice! It's been hard on our grant applications and reports to figure out what to share and what to leave out. There was definitely pain in our learning curves over past year, but that's true with so many learning curves and we're still here with so much gained from our many lessons learned. Eager to mentor others through less painful ways of supporting the wikimovement. DrMel (talk) 18:40, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Meaningful and concise. I read it in one breath. Spiritia 20:32, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Storytelling is very important, and often is quite difficult the first few times you try. I find this learning pattern quite useful. GastelEtzwane (talk) 12:47, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
  • This pattern is incredibly close to what I have always tried to achieve in my reporting experience as a Wikimedia grantee. Very inspiring! --Hjfocs (talk) 17:00, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

See alsoEdit

Related patternsEdit

External linksEdit