Tag Archives: Storytelling


Image courtesy of Marina Kuchenbecker at 12RF

Image courtesy of Marina Kuchenbecker at 12RF

My Strategic PR Communication class took a turn toward reflection this past week. We talked about the importance of making time to ruminate.

Construction of quality written and visual materials requires creativity. And creativity takes time. A flash of inspiration may trigger the creative process. But, from there, it is just that … a process.

I took this notion to heart and set aside a few hours today to let my brain breathe.

My goal was to abandon self-imposed expectations and the guilt that is often attached to an afternoon of ‘down time.’

Autumn in Oregon is a lot like spring with a golden color palette. The weather shifts from moment to moment. In any direction, a unique cell of activity can be seen in the sky. A quarter turn can be the difference between silver sheets of falling rain and stark white, billowy clouds that show just how blue a blue sky can be.

I walked through the hay fields, I listened to the rustling leaves and, most importantly, I let my mind wander.

Mt. Pisgah, Eugene, Ore. by Heather Lawless

Effortlessly, I began to connect the streaming jumble of thoughts and ideas into usable compositions. Mental snippets – once disjointed and without context – transformed into cohesive solutions.

To write, tell stories and communicate are nebulous endeavors. Though we have rules of thumb to guide us, there is no one ‘right’ way to do them. To honor the creative process, instead of demanding results from ourselves, is imperative.

Brilliance happens. But, in my experience, anything of value requires revision and the willingness to deconstruct and rethink.

Though my afternoon produced clarity for a few current projects, the real gem came in the form of reaffirmation of this truth: Take the time, honor the process and the finished product will blossom.



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Nonprofit Messages That Work

When blogging for a nonprofit, we are not just increasing awareness. We are calling people into action.

Communication strategies are not set in stone. Goals, messages and channels are unique to the people and places involved. It is key to highlight the specialized characteristics that make ‘this time,’ ‘this cause’ or ‘this person’ important. Here are some ways that nonprofit bloggers improve participation with their readers. I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences, too!

Leaping into action

Storytelling is inclusive

If we see the face, hear the voice and feel the emotions, we naturally insert ourselves into the story. Once there, we inevitably ask ourselves “What can I do about this?” Though sharing is fun and cathartic, the goal is to get people involved.

Self interest is a powerful motivator

It is from within the story that we are affected and, therefore, invested. If we can elevate the experience of the audience from “Sucks to be┬áher” to “That could be me,” then we have a higher probability of altering behavior. Fun drives us more than shame. Don’t guilt anyone into anything – this diminishes trust and replaces action with isolation.

Interact with your readers

Photo by Samo Trebizan

Photo by Samo Trebizan

Two-way communication invites participants into the fold. Initiate dialogue and foster conversations. An RSS feed and a frequently visited comments section are great ways to explore public opinion. Does your blog ask questions that invite readers to contribute?

Now is compelling

Update publics about what is happening today. We are excited about and more easily engaged with programs in motion. Isn’t it more effective to invite potential donors to sponsor a pet adoption drive happening ‘this weekend’ than it is to ask for contributions to next year’s drive?

Images are persuasive

Visual storytelling invokes emotion and lends credibility. Seeing is believing. And it is important to nonprofits that its publics trust that their support is working. Showing progress through video and photographic images gives a sense of advancement to a cause and its objectives.

Stories are fun

Here is a great example of inclusive, visual storytelling. The SPCA and Mini partnered to make a series of videos that promote both the Mini brand and pet adoption. What makes this a sticky message for you? Enjoy!


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