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By Joel ben Izzy © 2011

The world of Micro Enterprise development is filled with stories.  In fact, there’s a tale to be told behind every loan we make and behind every business that succeeds, adds a new product or service, or creates a new job.

With so many stories in the universe, it’s easy to lose track of them.  This template will help your organization keep track of its stories, which can be shared with many audiences – funders, potential clients, your staff, and the media and the general public.  Also, we invite you to share your story with CAMEO, whose job it is to tell the world your organization’s story as we continue to advocate for the great work you do.

In addition to tracking stories this template also will help you put these stories to use.  Of course, a central purpose of these stories is to remind us of why we come to work.  But there are more nuanced messages in these stories that can serve strategic purposes as we convey a variety of messages to various audiences.  For example, your story should make one or more of the following points:

  • CAMEO members create jobs.
  • Money invested in a micro enterprise organization translates to job growth.
  • Because banks aren’t lending, community based lenders have stepped up to serve Main Street, as well as the side streets and back streets.
  • The business training and technical assistance we provide is as important as capital, if not more so.
  • Good management decisions are the foundation of business success.
  • Successful businesses transform neighborhoods.
  • Your work contributes to the California Dream of entrepreneurship.

Though this template has the basic information to capture your story, you might want to switch the order around a bit.  For example, you might want to say “About a year ago Charlie walked into my office.”  You could then tell a little about his story, then flash back to tell us about the time and place when he walked into your office, what he wanted and so on.

Organizing these elements in this simple form will make the story much easier to work with, whether you ultimately put it in writing, tell it in person or both.

We also encourage you to incorporate photographs or videos, which are worth at least a thousand words.  Keep a camera or “Flip” with you at all times!