What is ethical storytelling?

Every story matters, and every storyteller deserves to feel empowered and respected through the process of sharing their story. 

A mother and daughter in front of a WCK gazebo on a sunny day, standing closely together and smiling at the camera. The 10-year-old girl is wearing a WCK "stay wild" baseball cap.

“We live and breathe stories. At night, we dream in stories. We share our life stories. Stories create understanding around us, and of what we’re experiencing.” – ethicalstorytelling.com


We want to share with you why storytelling matters, and why the process is just as important as the story itself.

Why we share families' stories

“If you want a message to burrow into the human mind, you work it into a story.” – Jonathan Gotschall

Stories make us human – we think in stories. They create empathy and understanding. It’s a way of putting the reader into someone else’s shoes, helping them to truly know the difference we can make to families across B.C. every day. 


We share stories about the impact of our work to connect supporters to what’s happening on the ground and to encourage people to support what we’re doing, however they can.   

A boy at WCK City Camp having his photo taken with his caregiver. The woman is standing slightly behind the boy and they are smiling at the camera. The boy is wearing sunglasses.

We’ve learned how empowering it is for people to have the chance to share their story, because it matters. This is why we offer the choice to share – it’s never an obligation, but it’s an opportunity that we wouldn’t withhold from someone. Each person in our community has a voice, and they have valuable things to say. 

Whose stories we tell

We share stories from:


  • families who have engaged with our programs
  • our volunteers
  • donors and sponsors
  • staff members
  • other people who support our programming


Families’ stories are always most important to us.

Ethical practices matter

A mom and dad from the WCK community. Dad has his arm around mom and they are standing in their garden, with green trees in the background. They are smiling at the camera.

Ethical Storytelling is an excellent group of people in nonprofits who want to make sure that the experience of sharing stories is dignified and respectful. They remind organizations that the process matters just as much as the product, because it can either leave someone feeling exploited or empowered.


Sharing your own story is a generous thing to do – it helps people understand the lives of others in a new way. It can change how they think and move them to take action. WCK always wants to honour and respect that generosity.

Here are some important practices that helped to shape our WCK storytelling guidelines:


  • Ethical storytelling is about truth. We keep one truth at the centre of each story.
  • It’s always about the people in the story. They are the ones who should benefit from the process, before anyone else.
  • “The likelihood of people saying no can be slight, because they feel beholden to the patron providing services.” – ethicalstorytelling.com. Someone should always feel able to say no without worrying about the reaction. WCK support is never transactional. Families never need to do anything to “earn” it. 
  • People develop beliefs about how they are supposed to behave, talk, and act from the stories they have heard. We avoid victim tropes. Every storyteller is a hero to us.
  • There is no such thing as a “better story.” Every person’s true story is powerful and does not need to be manipulated or sensationalized.
  • We should always look for our own blindspots. We all have them. The important thing is becoming aware and addressing them. 
  • The storyteller sees and approves the story before it is published. 
  • They can change their mind at any time, even after it has gone out. They remain in control.
  • The storyteller gets full credit for the story, and they keep ownership of it. WCK is just the channel through which they share it. 
  • Even a photograph tells a story. We give thought to what we communicate through images, videos, testimonials and any other form of media.
  • WCK only works with supporters who want us to put families first, and who expect stories to benefit the families before them. 

Want to find out more?

Find out more about the amazing work Ethical Storytelling does. Check out their resources, including a super interesting podcast!