5 Questions: Creating a Culture of Storytelling

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 03/25/2010 - 12:12pm

Ed. Note: As we prepare for the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference, we wanted share a wee bit of the wisdom our speakers will be serving up, so as not to overwhelm you when you get to Atlanta. We're asking them all to share their answers to five very important questions.

Speaker: Roger Burks, Mercy Corps

Session: Creating a Culture of Storytelling

1. What's the most important trend in nonprofit technology for 2010?

I think the most important trend continues to be the democratization of message. Collectively and more than ever, our constituents and supporters are letting us know how they want to hear from us -- and not only that, but how they want to communicate with us. We're all having to work harder to engage our audiences across multiple channels, including social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. I also think they're expecting something more from us than that good feeling they get after donating. They want a relationship with us. And not just that, they want a say in what that relationship looks like and feels like.

2. Why do you think your session topic is important for nonprofits to address?

Whenever I do a presentation or talk to colleagues, people always say that they want to do more storytelling in their organizations, but don't know how to start. They tell me that they're excited about the concept of getting their stories out to audiences, but they don't know how to get the buy-in from their higher-ups. There's a pretty broad misconception that storytelling requires a huge level of re-invention and resource investment. It doesn't! The session I'm helping present will show participants how it only takes a few committed, excited people with some good ideas to change their organizations into cultures of storytelling. 

3. What's the one thing you want attendees to remember from your session?

Storytelling is easy. We all do it every day in our interactions with friends and family. Most of us were attracted to this line of work exactly because we're inspired by the stories of those we work alongside and serve. So those stories are already there - we just have to start telling them!

4. Which Muppet do you most identify with and why?

It has to be Kermit the Frog - reporter, ringmaster, dreamer. Plus, I am deeply fond of green, humid places.

5. Where can people follow you online (twitter, blog, etc.)?