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10 Inspiring Resources to Ignite Social Change Storytelling

Today’s world is abuzz with change.

And as a change-maker and innovator working to make the world a better place, you’re being called on to step out in a bold way. To share your voice, your message.

In fact, we’re all being asked to reflect on our deeper values and what we stand for. Not just as individuals, but as a people.

These times call for more sophisticated stories. For doing deeper work. For going beyond the superficial into the shadow of the human experience.

The challenge we face is this: Even in times of apparent darkness, how do our stories instill faith in the future?

It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely possible. It’s what we stand for here at Get Storied. It’s what our work is all about.

And today, we want to share some of our favorite resources to help you tell that story.

Let’s get right to it.

1. Frameworks Institute

This fast-growing group is probably the most important narrative-based social policy organization you’ve never heard of. From immigration reform to homelessness, criminal justice to education — Frameworks Institute is changing the conversation around social issues by creating extensive scientifically-based messaging research.

Use This Tool: For those of you on the front lines of the immigration fight, download the Building Public Understanding of Comprehensive Immigration Reform communications toolkit. Or if you’re working on any other social change issue, download the primer on your specific cause.

2. Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference

John Capecci & Timothy Cage co-authored this fantastic book about the power of testimony. If you’re a spokesperson for your cause or want to effectively share your family stories of immigration, this book will teach you the appropriate way of leveraging your personal story.

Get This Resource: It takes a lot of courage to step up and tell your personal story. Pick up a copy of Living Proof (aff) to help you humanize your cause.

3. Hatch for Good

This storytelling portal, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, is full of great resources. From how to captivate and engage your audience to the best tools for strategy and evaluation. If you’re looking for a compendium of many different opportunities and ways to leverage storytelling as part of your nonprofit’s social change work, explore the lessons and articles on their site.

Use This Tool: Hatch asks you to answer the question would you sit next to yourself at a party? This post will help you move beyond boring data and statistics to tell a story that puts a human face to your cause.

4. The Goodman Center

Andy Goodman is one of the leading voices in nonprofit storytelling, and a featured speaker at our past Reinvention Summit. As well as advising many large foundations on better social change storytelling, he is also the author of Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes.

Get This Resource: Andy puts out a monthly e-newsletter that includes compelling case study examples of social causes using storytelling to advance their work. If you’re not already subscribed, you should be.

5. Working Narratives

The folks at Working Narratives believe that “good movements follow great stories.” Located at the intersection of the arts, technology, and social change, their work teaches how to place your story within pop culture context.

Get This Resource: Download the 32-chapter Story Guide that goes deep into strategies for short- and long-term social policy, based on interviews with funders, communications experts, and storytellers of all sorts.

6. Million Person Project

The Million Person Project specializes in helping you tell your personal story on stage. Co-founders Heather Box and Julian Mocine-McQueen call it a “a global project about love, storytelling and connecting change-makers.” Trained by the great community organizer Marshall Ganz, they offer one-on-one coaching to help you own and share your social change story.

Get This Resource: Watch their free video interview series. Learn how to courageously tell your story from 20+ progressive communication experts (including yours truly).

7. Story For All

Our newest Get Storied team member and collaborator Angela Zusman is an oral historian who has done deep work in storytelling and community development. Her nonprofit, Story For All, works with youth, veterans, and police officers on issues of race and identity. When we hear stories of people who at first may not look or talk like us, story helps us discover the invisible lines of connection — to begin to heal and transform.

Apply This Framework: The many campaigns and projects undertaken by Story For All provide a great framework for you to model.

8. StoryCorps

The “National Library of Congress for storytelling,” StoryCorps wants to help preserve and share humanity’s stories. They won the prestigious TED prize a couple years ago in support of their ambitious mission. StoryCorps believes that everyone has a story to tell, and they work to capture the stories of everyday citizens. You may have also seen their stories syndicated through National Public Radio (NPR).

Use This Tool: Want to get better at drawing out people’s stories? Use the prompts in the StoryCorps question guide to help find the hidden and unspoken story in each of us.

9. The Future of Public Libraries

A few years ago, Get Storied was commissioned to help tell this story. Amongst our work, we produced A Strategic Storytelling Toolkit for Public Libraries available to you for free under Creative Commons. It includes a range of exercises and strategic storylines to help communities convey the evolving role and value of libraries in the 21st century.

Get This Resource: Download the Strategic Storytelling Toolkit for Public Libraries.

10. How to Tell a World-Changing Story

In collaboration with Digital Storytellers, Get Storied released a 10-part video series on how to go beyond the hero-victim-villain story. This series also tackles the ways we are being asked to learn new approaches to how we tell our stories of transformation.

Get This Resource: Sign up for the How to Tell a World-Changing Story video series.

Spark Your Storytelling

These are just a few of our favorite organizations doing great storytelling work.

Now we want to hear from you. What resources did we miss? Share your favorites in the comments below.

And let us know which of the resources in this post will ignite your storytelling. If you’re not sure which to choose, we’d recommend starting with our 10-Part Video Series, How to Tell a World-Changing Story.