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What is a Success Story?
Success Stories are a way to share with our stakeholders the impact that Extension has on our communities and how we are transforming science into everyday solutions for North Carolinians. Success stories provide a brief summary of a problem or challenge, the research-based Extension delivered solution, and the social, environmental, or economic outcomes of your efforts. They can be used to demonstrate the public value Extension provides to our communities.
- Success Stories tell the story of Extension and how our work helps people solve real problems that impact their everyday lives.
- Extension stories are intentional, strategic and rooted in our mission to grow North Carolina.
- Through stories, Extension can bring life to data, build emotional connections between our organization and our audiences, and reinforce the message that our work is building a more prosperous state.
How to Write a Story?
The key to writing a compelling success story is to answer the question “So what?” You want to communicate the need for and importance of what was done and the impact it had. Your success story may describe increased knowledge, changed behavior or adoption of new practices, changes in social, economic, or environmental conditions, or even the potential impact that may likely result because of the Extension effort.
A well-defined topic
- Shows how Extension improves the lives of North Carolinians and/or grows the state.
- Shows how Extension’s people provide high-tech, high-touch service to clients and communities in our state
- Shows how Extension’s partnerships position us to benefit the state.
- Shows how Extension develops and/or implements programs that deliver university research into the field to address client needs.
- Shows how Extension provides individualized solutions that empower clients and help them make better-informed decisions.
Why are Success Stories Important?
- Illustrate our accountability
- Improve the visibility of our programs
- Generate support materials for funders
- Provide a repository of anecdotes for speeches and reports
- Build greater understanding of our programs by the public
- Illustrate the public value of Extension programs
Where to Find More Information?
Visit the Extension Storytelling website to find a blueprint (including guidelines, tools and examples) that will help you develop success stories that are are intentional, strategic and rooted in our mission to grow North Carolina.
The Success Story Tipsheet provides information on how to enter your success story into the Extension Reporting System (ERS).
Visit the Land Grant Impacts website to see success stories, from both North Carolina and across the country, demonstrating the collective and individual impacts of Extension. This site is used by members of the general public, elected officials, and other stakeholders to learn more about the public value of Land-Grant Universities.
If you tell a strong story, people want to help you and support you. Telling your Extension story writing like your life depends on it, is a presentation from USDA communications director, Faith Peppers at the 2021 Extension Foundation Impact Collaborative.