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, of course). It calls on our shared empathy and drives us to take action.
Stories can forge a sense of connection around a shared sense of purpose. They make complex, controversial ideas personal and hard to dismiss.
Building trust and listening are the first acts for any storyteller, especially when telling stories in partnership with people from communities that have experienced systemic oppression. Sometimes the story that needs to be told is not obvious. Sometimes it takes several conversations to identify themes and narrative arcs that 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.
A few past and current clients: Actual Agency, Airbnb.org, American Society on Aging, Camp EDMO, Friends of Outdoor School, Good Governance Institute, Gray Family Foundation, Portland International Airport, Roccam Recruiting.
Some of the projects I have worked with clients on:
- Email: Done right, email newsletters are a potent tool for alerting readers to the good work you’re doing and calling them to action. But first, you have to entice people to open and engage with your emails! I have managed email newsletters for nonprofits for two decades now, and edited a for-profit email publication for two years, becoming deeply immersed in metrics, subject lines, and engagement rates.
- Online content: Working with large groups of stakeholders, I’ve helped organizations revamp their websites, build their blogs, write marketing copy and video scripts, and incorporate basic SEO principles into communications. One core principle of this work is understanding that blog posts, web copy, videos, and social media posts always fit together into an ecosystem of communications — and you can rework and repurpose good content to engage readers on several different platforms.
- Thought leadership: 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.
Online publishing: Familiar with WordPress, Google Analytics, MailChimp, and Substack — not to mention communicating with the public via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok (though no dances).
Editing: I have edited projects as small as social-media posts and as long as academic anthologies. Trained under persnickety, old-school copy editors who will fight you over an ill-placed comma, I know my way around the AP, Chicago, and APA style guides.
Recent professional coursework: grant writing, SEO, email marketing, interpreting statistics.