Writer and Storyteller Recruitment
Everyone has a story, and many are capable of telling their own stories, but in a Facing Project, no one writes their own story. Facing stories are shared by a storyteller with a writer, carried by the writer, and ultimately approved by the storyteller. This is a collaborative process.
This is done for several reasons:
1) It forces the writer to walk in another’s shoes and leads to a unique exercise of empathy.
2) We often struggle to tell our own stories. Finding the narrative thread of an experience or our lives can be difficult because we get bogged down with all of the details.
3) Neighbors meeting face-to-face and discussing issues that aren’t often discussed . . . that’s magical! [Link to The importance of Face-to-Face connections]
But in order for all of the above to happen, we have to recruit storytellers and writers.
The very first Facing Project focused on poverty. We couldn’t just walk down the street and approach someone and ask, “Hey, are you poor? Want to share your story?” We worked closely with 17 community partners that serve the poor to recruit stories.
Because of the need to protect the identities of the individuals they serve, most community partners won’t pass on names. In fact, many community partners will initially bulk at the idea of being a part of the Facing Project because of privacy concerns. You need to assuage these concerns by telling them that you would never ask for them to divulge their clients’ info, and instead ask them to pass on info about the Facing Project to any clients they feel might be suited to participate as storytellers.
Here’s a recruitment letter template for this purpose, which communicates what the project is, timeframe, anonymity, and minimum commitments.
PUT A CALL OUT FOR STORYTELLERS – HERE’S A SAMPLE
Recruiting storytellers for some projects are easier than others. Storytellers for some projects can be recruited in a general call out via email lists, public forums, newspapers, campus newspapers, and on social media.
The organizers of Facing Depression in Muncie put a general call out through social media and via Ball State’s English department and within two days the project had recruitment three-fourths of the storytellers needed.