• Sanjukta Moorthy

Worksheet: The STAR Method

The STAR method is a great storytelling tool that many tech companies use in recruitment to get people to feel at ease. I thought it would make a great interview tool for our work and help us write clearer case studies.

It comprises four components: situation, task, action, and result. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you would like. For example, tell a simple story of an activity's outcome using this method:

In our recent teacher training workshop, we were responsible for ensuring that all the materials needed for each school district were provided well in advance. We wanted to share the new books and training courses at least two weeks before our session, so teachers had time to get familiar and comfortable with them before we began.
But we did not consider how long the floods would last, and the delays that this would cause to our visits to share these materials with the teachers. We weren't able to take our trucks there in time, so we ended up sharing everything just a few days before.
Instead of postponing our training, we instead amended it a little bit to provide more time for feedback, group discussions, and time for the teachers to test the materials out. We stayed for an extra few days, and this also gave us a good opportunity to spend more time with our community which was a great bonus.

Use a Most Significant Change methodology to pick out an activity that you found interesting or impactful, and use the STAR method to give people more detail. In this completely made-up example, I used the STAR method to paint a picture of an activity. You could use this in a donor report to describe one of your activities in more detail.

You'll see that I've focussed this a little, so it's not only sharing detail about what we did, but it does a few things:

  • shows something unexpected in our region

  • how we adapted to it

  • how we made the most of the situation

  • how it did not affect our project too badly

  • it gave us the chance to build relationships with our community

  • we learned from it and ensured we still achieved our goals but did so creatively.

This shows a reader that we

  • have good relationships with people

  • care about teacher training

  • can still do our work despite natural disasters

  • achieve our project goals and think well on our feet.

If you were a donor, you are reading this with interest, and it will likely make you think that this organisation is a good one to support, right? They show creativity, are transparent about what went well and didn't, and show you how they still achieved their result and made a better situation.

Let me know how you could use the STAR method to tell a similar story of your work!

SMC Group STAR Method
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