We have been consistently named as one of the top firms serving nonprofit organizations: City & State’s Political PR Power 50 and Observer’s Pr Power 50.

Supporting People to Tell Their Own Stories

Lynsey Billet

Lynsey Billet

Senior Account Executive

A woman and two children and interviewed by a camera crew.
 
Sharing participant stories is a great way for nonprofits to engage key stakeholders and move them to action. Ideally, people would have the opportunity to share their stories, in their own words, on their own time. In reality, it is the work of communications professionals to support people to tell their stories, and to do so ethically. We can help participants find the right audience and venue, and coach them on what to expect. It is a great responsibility—and we take it seriously.
 

Here are our best practices when it comes to working with individuals—many with sensitive or traumatic experiences—to tell their own stories:

 
  • Give people choice and voice: Let people know their decision to share their story is theirs alone, and they can share as much or as little as they want.
 
  • Set aside more than enough time for people to share. Recounting sensitive experiences can take time, and people should not feel rushed.
 
 
  • If you’re developing materials using a person’s story, like C Magazine, make sure to share it with the person before publication so they can review the write-up and let you know if they are comfortable with how their story is told. For pieces that other people create, such as a news story, share it with the person once it is published and ask if they have any corrections and clarifications.
At the end of the day, storytelling isn’t just an exercise in engaging target audiences—it’s also an issue of equity. We must make sure that people with lived experience have the opportunity to share their stories. Passing the mic to people who are often overlooked is part of the work we all need to do to build a more just society. To do this work right requires both sensitivity and responsibility.
 

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