From 2010-2012, we reached out to our network in East Africa and asked each organization to recruit a dozen young people in a town where they work. Some organizations obliged, and we met with these people and trained them to be good listeners. We gave them 2-page surveys and sent them forth to interview people they knew in their community and write their stories. These “scribes” met 10-20 people a month, collecting two stories from each, with a goal of about 200 stories per organization. The next month we returned and picked up the papers, and paid them for each story (10 to 15 cents in East Africa). Over 57,000 stories were collected this way. Your organization will need to reward your scribes too if you want to get usable feedback.
Any organization can build and customize an online form and generate a matched offline paper version in PDF. If you collect stories on paper, we offer a free transcription service. To send images of the papers, simply scan or photograph them with a camera phone and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2014 we will be experimenting with an even simpler storytelling tool designed for smart phones. The storyteller is prompted to talk about a time when a person or organization tried to help someone or change something in his community (our standard question) and it will record the audio version of the story for transcription. We will gleam all other essential information from the storyteller’s Facebook profile, with her permission, so that each response takes as little as 3 minutes. These turbo-feedback interactions will complement the more detail-rich 2-page surveys we currently offer, which take 12 to 20 minutes per story told. Step by step instructions are found at:
 Paper yields better stories than online tools, because people respond differently.
In the past we curated a collection of over 57,000 stories from Kenya and Uganda (2010-2013). Read about how organizations have used storytelling to be more effective organizations: