The Power of Digital Storytelling — Part 1

Hey, I’m Leigh. I’m a digital designer at Comic Relief and this is my first post for the Comic Relief Tech Blog! I’ve just started working on a new digital storytelling product and thought it might be interesting to blog our journey, through our processes, what’s working, our challenges etc. In this first post I’ll start by giving a little context to the work.

The story so far

Digital storytelling is a technique we have been using to educate people about the issues that Comic Relief supports. Not only to raise awareness about the problems but also talk about where the money goes and celebrate the progress. We have delivered this through films, personal stories, editorial, case studies, photography, infographics, stats, maps, interactive stories and social media takeovers.

The development of interesting digital experiences like Channel 4’s Two Billion Miles and strong, thought provoking editorial like Humans of New York have helped us to identify that there’s a space, an opportunity and a need for innovation in the way we engage our audiences through our digital medium. This is a very exciting challenge.

We started this exploration for Red Nose Day 2015 when a small team of us created the schools interactive story aimed at 7–11 year olds. We told the story of Ngosa, a young girl from Zambia, the issues she faces with the loss of her parents and the Comic Relief funded project that has helped her. We were shortlisted for the Best use of digital by a charity, NGO or NFP at the Digital Impact Awards 2016 and won bronze! We had great feedback and take up with teacher and students, so we decided to iterate and produce one for Sport Relief 2016 and another for Red Nose Day 2017.

What next and why?

A group of us are now focusing on a digital product that will educate and engage a wider audience. The story of the issues and progress is ongoing so we must continue to review and innovate what and how we communicate.

As the world changes socially and environmentally, as do cultures and attitudes and therefore the needs and expectations of our audiences’ constantly need to be questioned. And not only should we be thinking about what our audiences’ need and expect but also what aren’t they expecting, how can we surprise them, engage them, encourage them to care? And more specifically how can we use digital platforms to do this?

We know that Comic Relief is a hugely successful charity in so many ways, but we also know that trust in charities has waned and that it’s more important than ever for people to understand exactly where the money goes and to gain and continue to build that trust.

Current and next steps

Based on what we’ve learned from our past storytelling products, and some assumptions we’d like to test, we have identified the roles we think we need in the squad (I’ll talk about this more next time). We have sent out two surveys, one to an external group and another to internal peeps. This week we are analysing the results and hope that this will help us identify a specific problem or problems and guide us to then form our brief, goals and objectives…

I’ll let you know how we get on in the next post!

If you fancy another read…

My pal Naomi has written a great article about the latest schools interactive story for Red Nose Day 2017. Read it here.




This is where we showcase the ways that we are use technology to support the core aims of our organisation and how we do it.

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