At our anniversary celebration last week our key note speaker Steve Mariotti Founder of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and JJ Ramberg our nonprofiteer of the year and Co-Founder of GoodSearch.com spent time sharing their experiences and paths that led them to careers in social change. Even though they work in different causes and have different backgrounds, they both shared one powerful piece of advice to changemakers: learn how to tell a story.
The importance of story telling comes up quite a bit in the nonprofit sector, especially when it comes to more externally facing professions like communications and fundraising. However this is an important skill in all aspects of nonprofit work. As we seek to grow and engage our supporters, employees, and communities we serve, we must learn how to present our experiences and our work in a compelling way that draws our audience in and makes them feel connected and invested in the work we are doing. Story telling is one of the most powerful tools changemakers have, yet it’s a hard skill to master. What does it mean to tell a good story? How do I get others to tell their stories in support of our cause? How do we go from story telling to taking action?
Luckily there are resources to help you get started. Geoff Livingston outlined four story telling methods that you can use to connect with your audience and Kivi Leroux Miller highlights tips on how to have an impact through story telling. Additionally, the following three websites encourage people to share their stories and connect with others who share their passion, allowing changemakers to develop stronger networks and take action. Check them out and learn how to use your story to change the world:
- Changents: Changents is an online platform that connects people who are changing the world with those who want to help them. Change Agents tell their stories from the frontlines of social change and supporters (called backers) take action to help the change agent succeed. Follow them on twitter @changents
- Likeminded: LikeMinded is a project of Craigslist Foundation and is part of the Technology for Engagement Initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Although in Beta, the goal is to help community success stories travel better; share the good work happening in your community so others can join. Follow them on twitter @likeminded
- Be Social Change Digest NYC: Be Social Change Digest NYC helps facilitate idea exchange,connection & alignment within the NYC social change & tech communities. They highlight the innovative work of local change makers via micro-interviews & provide curated news & events to Be Social Change in the city. Follow them on twitter @besocialchange
What are some other resources to help change makers tell their stories?