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20NTC Session Proposal

Storytelling: Solving the Challenges Nobody Mentions

Submitted by: Jed Miller NTEN Member badge | 3 Bridges


The demand for storytelling has never been greater, but behind the glamor of your “powerful video” or “impact story” lie the challenges of finding a good story and agreeing how to tell it.

What if your smartest expert is your weakest storyteller? How do you make sure that communities can tell their stories on their own terms? What if your donor demands results, but all you can show is progress?

Drawing on interviews with dozens of nonprofit and foundation staff, this session will help communicators, fundraisers, and funders tell better stories by making storytelling a more cooperative, inclusive process.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discover common obstacles in storytelling for advocacy and fundraising, and swap challenges and solutions.
  • Learn to "get out of the way" and let your communities tell their own stories.
  • Help funders think differently about outcomes, so that successful stories aren't simply stories about success.




Jed Miller

Digital Strategist

3 Bridges

Jed Miller is a writer and strategist who helps mission-driven organizations think before they build things. He has consulted to groups including the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Greenpeace, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Open Society Foundations, among others. His most recent report, “The Story Behind the Story,” written with the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, explores the challenges for donors and NGOs seeking to tell authentic, compelling stories about their work. Jed previously served as the first internet director for the American Civil Liberties Union and as interactive editor of He has taught advocacy communications at Columbia’s School for International Public Affairs and has written for the Guardian, Civic Hall and the General Services Administration, among others. Jed is a native New Yorker who lives ambivalently in Washington, D.C.

Felicia Perez

Innovation Director

Center for Story-based Strategy

Felicia T. Perez is the Innovation Director at the Center for Story-based Strategy. Her previous organizing experience includes work for United Workers Congress, GetEqual, the ACLU of Southern California, No on Proposition 21 campaign, and Californians for Justice. Felicia holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a published author and co-author of social studies curriculum and in anthologies on teaching and performance. Prior to her work in strategic communications, she taught social studies for twelve years in Los Angeles and was a union chapter chair for UTLA.

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March 15, 2019


1:15pm – 2:30pm

CFRE Credits

NFR - 1.25

Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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