First Draft

First Draft is Storythings’ pro-bono consultancy offer to small organisations, groups, networks or collectives who create change by working with under-represented communities.


We call it First Draft because it’s all about supporting you in reaching an early ‘first draft’ stage of a new communications project, where an idea starts to take shape and can be tested and developed.


Our call for First Draft 2024 has now closed.


“It was amazing to have a forum for sharing ideas, especially as a small company without much opportunity to brainstorm. The Storythings team were experts and their knowledge has really opened our eyes on how to create interesting content and how to turn these ideas around with minimal resources.”

– Daisy Boateng, Founder & CEO, The Step-Up Sorority

How we can help


We’ll help you break down your content goals, discuss ideas that might help you talk about your work in a way that others can get on board with, and guide and support you in developing and prototyping a format. We will help you to become a better communicator and build stronger relationships with your audiences, stakeholders and funders.

What First Draft has achieved


  • New Fables Collective – We helped them define their storytelling approach as a new organisation, before they formally launched.
  • YSYS – We worked with them to create a storytelling approach and prototype the script for a video series they wanted to create to celebrate the achievements of the entrepreneurs in their community.
  • The Step-Up Sorority – We helped them understand how best they could help younger members relate to the more experienced members by developing a prototype for a storytelling format.
  • BLAST Fest – We supported them on building a story for potential funders and on developing creative ideas around pivotal moments of change.
  • Impact Hub Bradford – We helped them prototype an idea that brought local people together to explore differences and connections around food and community.
  • ThisAbility Ltd – We helped them prototype an audio format that helped participants leave messages that integrated lived experience, for a new discussion series that they were running across a year.
  • Pioneer Maths – We worked with them to prototype and develop a newsletter connecting teachers to support and engage girls in mathematics beyond the school curriculum.

How does First Draft work?

We will support three organisations in 2024 over 5 weeks each, with programmes starting in April, June and September.

We will consider applications from any organisation globally as long as they can meet our time zone requirement for Zoom calls: GMT/BST afternoons, likely on Thursdays.

For each organisation, we’ll run a number of sessions focused on mapping your audience, exploring different content formats and then developing and testing one format prototype. This will take place across five weeks. Each session will last one hour. You will be invited to do some activities and tasks in between sessions. These are designed to help you develop your ideas and make the most of your time with us.

Weeks one and two will focus on audience mapping. We will also introduce you to the language of formats and start to unpack some examples that are already out in the world. By the end of the second session, we will support you in developing your ideas for your format, ready to prototype over weeks three and four.

Weeks three and four will focus on developing your own prototype. The prototype really is a first draft! So don’t stress about making it perfect, it’s not supposed to be.

The fifth and final week will be for us to give you feedback on your prototype and talk you through our ‘How to Run a Format’ playbook with lots of tips and ideas for you to take away.

Who we’re looking to help

  • Applications are open to companies, small networks or collectives that have been around for two years or less.
  • We are open to applications from any organisation globally as long as you can meet our time zone requirement for Zoom calls: GMT/BST afternoons, likely on Thursdays.
  • Your annual turnover should be less than £100k.
  • The work you are doing should be towards affecting positive change – this could be through your defined mission, or those you help.
  • You must have a clearly defined problem around storytelling, content or comms.
  • We’re actively seeking applications from groups who are looking to create change by working with under-represented communities.

You might be looking to set up a new project within your organisation that will improve diversity, equity and inclusion, and you need support in developing your story. Or you might be working with a local community and want to bring attention to the brilliant projects they are doing.

What you’ll get

  • Mentoring support from a group of people at Storythings who have worked across content, storytelling, innovation and strategy for years at places like Channel 4, BBC Radio 1, PEN International and Omnicom Media Group.
  • A clearer sense of how the content or storytelling challenge you’re facing could be approached.
  • A rough and ready prototype to test with your audience.
  • A playbook that gives you ideas on how to approach content structure, and provides lessons we’ve learned about audiences and their behaviours.

What others have said

“The Storythings team are incredible. They not only understand how to give clarity on what problems we have, but also give such in-depth expertise and guidance. This led to us achieving a huge milestone all while working super efficiently – usually it would take us months to plan, but with Storythings the process only took a couple weeks! We are so proud of the results and the teachers in our community already love our formats. The team are also so attentive and willing to help outside of sessions, and always come back with a tailored, actionable response. I loved working with Storythings!”

– Joely To, Pioneer Maths

“Approaching Storythings to help us develop our new initiative has been one of the best decisions we have made so far. They guided us expertly through a series of informal, yet carefully facilitated workshops, helping us to understand what questions we should be asking ourselves to move forward in the development of our organisation. They were generous in providing practical tools and advice, and importantly, the team were great in creating an environment where we felt comfortable in discussing complex and emotive issues that are central to the purpose of our work.”

– Farrah Nazir, Shomari Lewis-Wilson and Salma Begum, New Fables Collective

“The sessions were really fantastic in introducing (in my case) a complete newbie to the world of content. The Storythings team did it in a way where they didn’t focus on the practicalities of content formats but on how they made us feel. Their enthusiasm for content formats is very infectious and has inspired me to look at content in a more discerning manner. I am so glad that this programme was made available to us.”

– Kwaku Dappah, Former Digital Learning & Content Lead, YSYS

It’s made us think beyond platforms and products to really understand why format-thinking is more powerful for us. This will alter how we use social media, newsletters and in-person events.”

– Imran Ali, Chief Creative Officer, Impact Hub Bradford CIC

“The conversations with the team have helped me to clarify my thinking and doing in relation to story, content, intention and how this links to our agenda for change.”

– Anita Shervington, Founding Director, Blast Fest