Seven Powerful Stories Charities Can Tell

How Things Work and how the WWF used it to talk about climate change 

Stories change lives

This is number 3 of a 7 part series focussing on the most powerful stories charities can tell. 

For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have used stories to connect with each other, to learn important information and to feel part of a shared culture. A love of stories is hard-wired into us and profoundly affects the way we operate in the modern world (for more info on this, and if you like a saucy title, please see previous blog – Why Stories are just as important as Food and Sex).

Over this blog series we have shared seven of the most powerful story arcs that can help charities cut through the noise to reach and connect with their audience. 

If you’ve enjoyed the series, or missed a few along the way, you can email [email protected] to request a free booklet that outlines all seven stories in one go! 🙂

The third blog in our series focuses on teaching people how things work. 

Story 3: How things work 


Make your audience feel as though they understand all the steps they need to achieve an impressive, unusual or surprising outcome. 


Via specific, tangible steps use a systematic approach to explain how something works.  


It doesn’t matter how useful the information actually is, more that it feels useful. Bear Grylls has not shot to fame because all of his viewers live in jungles.  

Why it works

To survive as a species, we have developed a deep desire to seek out new pieces of information. 

News, gossip, campfire stories and legends all have the ability to tell us something new, which may later assist us in evading danger. The evolutionary value of such stories means that we enjoy learning how things work. 

When a story feels as if it’s giving us useful information, it tickles our evolutionary drive to pay attention and aid survival. “This knowledge could help me in the future,” we think.

Charity example

Mainstream example

Bear Grylls - How to stay alive, the ultimate survival guide for any situation bookcover.