Social Impact Storytelling

Storytelling that makes a difference.

In addition to my journalism, one of my great passions is helping nonprofits and impact-oriented enterprises communicate their mission and amplify their impact. Storytelling isn’t just about marketing or fundraising (though it’s a core element of those important functions!). It calls on our shared empathy to see people and challenges in vital new ways. Stories can forge a sense of connection around a shared sense of purpose. They make complex issues that can be all too easy to dismiss personal.

At the core of my storytelling approach: Listening

Building trust and listening are the first and most critical acts for any storyteller, especially when working in partnership with people from communities that have suffered systemic oppression. Sometimes the story that needs to be told is not obvious, and it takes time and conversation to identify themes and narrative arcs that will engage readers.

I take the same approach with organizations, especially ones in transition: listening as trusted outsider who can delve into your mission and activities, then help you communicate how you’re moving forward — always keeping the big picture in mind as we illuminate the details.

Some of the projects I have worked with clients on:

  • Email newsletters: Done right, newsletters are a potent tool for alerting readers to the good work you’re doing and calling them to action. As a full-time editor, I oversaw an email publication for two years in the 2010s, becoming deeply immersed in metrics, subject lines, and engagement rates, and have since created and edited newsletters for a number of nonprofits and government agencies.
  • Web: I’ve helped organizations revamp their websites, build their blogs, write marketing copy, incorporate good SEO, and make sure their online content reflects what they’re doing right now—not the last time they looked at their website six months ago. One core principle of this work is understanding that blog posts, web copy, and social media should always fit together into a communications ecosystem.
  • Writing and Editing: Great communicators don’t always like writing. Over my career, I’ve worked with hundreds of professionals and academics to contribute thought leadership to their industries or shape their writing for the general public in the form of articles, blog posts, and bylined editorials.
  • Project management: I’ve shepherded large print and online projects to fruition, wrangling teams of writers, copy editors, photographers, and designers — not to mention upper management — while making sure we all enjoy our time working together.

Partial list of some of my private and nonprofit clients: Actual Agency, Airbnb, American Society on Aging, Camp EDMO, Good Governance Institute, Portland International Airport (PDX), Roccam Recruiting, Resy.

Extras

Familiar with: WordPress, Google Analytics, MailChimp, and Substack — not to mention communicating with the public via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even TikTok. 

Editing: I have worked with APA, Chicago, and AP style guides, and know the ins and outs of how they differ from one another.

Recent coursework: grant writing, SEO, interpreting medical statistics.

Photo credit for header: Green Chameleon on Unsplash