We are pleased to welcome our new guest blogger, Julie Brown, Program Director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Julie is intrigued by storytelling, and the opportunity it offers to inspire donors and volunteers to act.
”The universe is made of stories, not of atoms,” said poet Muriel Rukeyser.
Just a year ago, Ruykeyser’s words proved to be transformational for the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. As a program officer listening to a grantee report about a local man facing a terrible disease with amazing dignity, I felt called to capture this inspirational story using a medium that could convey its energy. Grantee interim reports are usually full of data, but this was different; this one had soul.
Invisible Children’s (IC) Kony 2012 is the poster child of nonprofit video storytelling. It got attention (50 million YouTube views in the first week of release) and generated some level of understanding of the atrocities of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan rebel leader, and his LRA army.
Although the video will be remembered forever as a way to scale awareness at the speed of light by going viral, it also highlighted the challenges of visual storytelling. Kony 2012 generated widespread skepticism for its simplification of a complex situation, the infeasibility of the proposed solution, and the sensationalism of its storytelling. That, followed by the public and extreme breakdown of Invisible Children’s co-founder Jason Russell, raised a lot of eyebrows. READ MORE
Video, infographics, still photography, and even a t-shirt or cap featuring your call to action are all examples of visual media nonprofits are using to tell stories in powerful ways! When executed well, they cut through the clutter and leave a mental image that resonates and is remembered. Take this:
I had several meetings in the city (New York City, that is) yesterday, and was astonished to walk up to this compelling infographic on the side of a bus shelter. Wowza! BoostUp, an organization that promotes the impact of mentoring and engage potential mentors, uses the Empire State Building, one of the iconic NYC images, to illustrate it’s point). And because they’re conveying magnitude, it’s an ideal image—especially when used giant-sized like this.
NTEN has a refreshingly open method of designing the program for its annual conference, and the votes of folks in the sector (members plus) are a key part of it. I’d like to ask for your help in shaping the communications agenda at the conference.
I’ve partnered with some expert communicators to propose these two sessions, and hope you’ll to support us by voting them up today. Voting closes Friday, September 23 so vote now please!