Narratives With Integrity: Rising Above Exploitative Storytelling

memoryfox narratives with integrity series exploitative storytelling

Did you catch our March “Narratives With Integrity” panel? Watch it now!

This recording took place on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Full Transcript:

e’re going to ask tough questions today all right and questions that were submitted by the audience so this is all Grassroots questions um so thank you

0:07also to everybody that submitted um and thank you for attending of course and I always like to say this thank you to

0:13Carly our Intrepid Marketing Manager for putting this all together she’s wonderful and we’re so lucky to have you

0:19um this session like you saw is being recorded um and it’s going to be sent to everybody who registered within 24 hours

0:25after the event so go ahead and look look out for that for for an email from um so first off I’d like to introduce

0:32our panelists so first off is Marina Dalton Brown um is a global public

0:39health professional with over 15 years of experience leading and supporting health programs across the Caribbean

0:44region subsaharan Africa and Asia she worked with population Services International for over a decade as well

0:51as the UN women and the Pan-American Health Organization she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a

0:57graduate diploma in Health Management both from Mill University as well as a master of public health degree from St

1:04George’s University of Granada Marina believes that ordinary people have the power to influence Health Systems and

1:10that reframing the language and visual Narrative of development can Inspire systemic change next up is Sabrina

1:18Walker Hernandez is a certified consultant coach facilitator and

1:23best-selling author that helps nonprofit and mission-driven organizations build relationships and increase Revenue

1:29through Strate strategic planning board Education and Leadership development she has over two decades of experience in

1:35nonprofit management fundraising and Leadership Sabrina is a certified in nonprofit management by Harvard Business

1:42School Frank Velasquez Jr is a f is a racial and gender Equity Advocate who

1:48leads and collaborates with passion authenticity and an open mind he connects to the stories that make each

1:54of us who we are and the stories that inextricably connect us to each other as founder of fora hood and creator of the

2:02groundbreaking program ascending leader in color Frank brings local Regional and

2:07national attention to the inequities that communities of color face so that they too can economically advance and

2:14build their generational wealth and finally of course last but not least is Marshall Stow overseas Global Health

2:21Communications on policy and advocacy team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is also the CEO and

2:27founder of intentional which is a collab operative of disruptors individuals working to rebalance power shift harmful

2:35narratives and build strategies and programs that are Equitable and effective intentional is driven by a

2:41single principle greater impact and Equity comes when communities have more power and control Marshall has dedicated

2:48his professional life to working in leadership roles and Foundations and nonprofits addressing some of the world’s most challenging health and

2:55humans rights issues where he’s grappled with the imbalance of power between funders organizations and the

3:01communities they serve so wonderful thank you all for being here um let’s go

3:06ahead and we’ll go and get into it we’re just going to go the way this is going to work is I’m just going to read the

3:11questions that everybody submitted and then I’m going to pass it off to one of our uh one one of our panelists and

3:17we’re just going to go around the horn kind of like that so question number one and this is uh oh I’ll I’ll say the

3:23overarching topic so storytelling strategies this was submitted by Julio

3:28how do you and this is from Marshall how do you approach storytelling while trying to be empathetic to stories that

3:36may contain a lot of sensitive material for the subjects for example TBI PTSD or

3:42mental health loss Marshall we’ll kick it to you thank you it’s that’s such an important question and before I answer

3:50it I’m going to step back and give you a a theory that I have I think you know we’re focused a lot on ethical

3:55storytelling which I’m going to be super Frank I feel like at times is a cover your ass strategy by organizations to TI

4:02the boxes and say I got consent I’m doing no harm Etc there’s asset-based framing which puts the pressure on the

4:09system not the person so a person experiencing homelessness versus a homeless person what I’m arguing is that

4:16when we narrate stories we give people two roles and you brought it up empathy and competence right competence is

4:23usually reserved for staff for people with money uh white people usually that

4:29are giving their advice and guidance on what needs to happen the people who are depicted from the empathetic standpoint

4:35are the quote unquote beneficiaries people being served and so that’s generally the role that they’re casting

4:41is one of empathy so I’m going to push back on the empathetic part and say what

4:47would it look like to cast The People served in the role of competence in a competent voice so starting with this is

4:54what’s happening in my world this is my advice and guidance on what needs to happen more or what needs to happen l

5:00and then if I’m feeling like telling my story I’ll go ahead and tell it but I think we have to be okay with

5:06people oh Marshall you went on mute somehow H I think we have to be be okay

5:13with leading with advice and guidance and then allowing people to tell their stories if they feel like it’s

5:19appropriate for them but start first with asking what their advice and

5:24guidances beautiful beautiful and and I’ll also encourage any other panelist

5:29to sort of jump in afterwards if they have anything to add otherwise uh we can go on and go to the next question thank

5:36you for that Marsha uh next topic using asset-based language which is what we uh

5:42just talked about now I may pronounce this name so I apologize uh stacea who

5:47submitted um what is the best way to describe work being done in underserved

5:53areas without unintentionally making people in those areas feel called out as

5:58being disadvantaged and this one’s for Frank yeah thank you I appreciate that

6:04appreciate the question as well so I think this might Carly correct me if I’m wrong I think this might have been the

6:09question that I I kind of message you privately about so so the so there’s a

6:15lot to unpack in that question itself uh the you know saying how do we how do we

6:20help underserved you know so right there that’s a deficit frame so I but it’s but

6:25it’s like a meta moment of the question but really the the answer is simp to me you always do well you do two things one

6:32you lead with aspirations so talk about uh the things that are happening to them but I always use this and and I think

6:39this is the critical piece describe the region don’t describe the people so you

6:44can say people who come from historically uh underresourced regions

6:49uh I live in Tucson and the south side of Tucson has historically been underresourced uh are the eastern part

6:55the Northwestern part of Tucson um get the money that’s where the people live so I always

7:02like to lead with again the positive language that you can say hey the south side of Tusa and the community there

7:08they’re resilient uh it is rich in art culture all of these things and it’s

7:14historically been underresourced and so if I frame it that way you honor and uplift who they are while acknowledging

7:21that the region that they are in has historically been under resource so again I just move that language that

7:27tries to describe the population into descri describing the region that they’re in that’s really nice I think there’s a

7:33broader point there about the language too is and I think some people get afraid of these things and they get afraid to even speak because they don’t

7:40want to use the wrong language and I don’t think that’s what any of this is ever about it’s about commitment to a

7:45Learning Journey to sort of ab continuously get better we’re all learning together especially as things

7:52change more so rapidly so wonderful thank you for pointing that out too I I

7:57have a quick really quick story so underserved like people who know me know

8:02that I don’t like that word and and so I remember doing this conference and the name of the actual nonprofit was the

8:10underserved Community Foundation and so she literally came up to me and was like what do I do and have an answer but it

8:17was just like but again it’s it’s really what’s the word it just it’s like in our

8:23DNA historical way we talk about things it’s literally how to disrupt your brain

8:28to disrupt those patterns that we’ve been taught over 20 30 40 50 years yeah

8:34no that’s one language can I add one thing to that I I just want to set the tone here and that I have made every

8:41mistake imaginable in depiction and narrative and framing in

8:47Communications I’m also a gay man of a certain age so I know what harmful narrative feels like from the AIDS era

8:54despite the personal experience I’ve had I went on to to do those harms throughout my career so so this isn’t

9:00about blame or shame it’s more about we’ve been conditioned to approach this in a certain way and it’s time to

9:06recondition ourselves and you know for me it’s part of my apology tour but this is not I know better than anybody I’ve

9:13made every mistake and that’s why I have something to talk about agreed unlearn to relearn absolutely wonderful no

9:20beautifully put uh beautifully put all right so let’s go into question number

9:26three uh topic is avoiding stereotyping and this is from Mary um what are some

9:32of what are some common indicators or words that may point to tokenism versus

9:38true representation Sabrina this one’s for you well this is um one of my favorites

9:46because I’ve been as as men as Marshall mentioned you know I’ve been guilty of

9:52some things myself and so um I’ll say this um avoid using sck mazing labels

10:00you know things such as atrisk youth so my background is I worked with youth for over 20 years and for a long time uh

10:09people would use the term atrisk youth um or lowincome families and that

10:15instead focuses on describing their circumstances um I I think we should

10:21really try to focus on their circumstances I

10:28apologize so it’ be like youth that’s facing challenges or Youth and underserved which Frank doesn’t like

10:34underserved communities right so we’re still learning in this process um and so

10:40I think that we have to be careful of the words that we use um and especially when we’re T talking about um at risk

10:49that’s one of the words like I grew up as an at risk kid I spent 20 years

10:55working with atrisk youth and people immediately

11:02stigmatize what at risk is and so we had to go through this whole process of

11:07defining is that really what you’re talking about you’re you’re not talking about at risk youth you’re talking about

11:14youth with potential right so call out the positive um and and so that is where

11:20I lay anytime that you are thinking about labeling a community poor or disad

11:29vage make sure that you are looking for the positive language that respects

11:36individual’s dignity and and what they bring to the table because all of those

11:42words are very negative words beautiful yeah yeah you froze for

11:49a sec and you froze in a very good position that shows your action for the subject but no that was wonderful thank

11:55thank you so much sorry no that’s okay that’s absolutely live entertainment right so Frank underserved I have to get

12:02underserved out of my mind because that is a word that I have used and I

12:08probably used it yesterday um and so I’m going to consciously work on as as

12:15Marshall says we’re learning as we go I’m gonna work on not using under served

12:21it’s very similar of course it’s very similar to the structure that Marshall said like uh homeless people versus is

12:29people experiencing homelessness it’s the same instead of saying underserved communities you can say communities from

12:35underresourced areas so it’s again a very again it separates that out so so

12:40yes I have for that and yeah and one of the words that I

12:46don’t use is homeless um because I work with a lot of agencies they use the term

12:51unhoused yep and so as we as we start to learn we start to use different language

12:57structure yeah language you use tells the story of your organization that conveys the values that are important to

13:03your organization and donors appreciate that so excellent wonderful um all right

13:09so I’m going to go to question four this one is on the topic of avoiding stereotyping and this is from uh Megan

13:17how can we ensure that we are avoiding themes of white saviorism especially

13:22when telling stories about the impact of and relationship between the volunteers

13:28and staff and oh I’m going to say disadvantage groups but this is from the question of

13:33course and that just highlights that and this is for Marina yes thanks very much Chris and

13:40greetings everyone Hi from Trinidad nice to be with you all well a lot of what

13:45has been said prior set the tone and I endorse a lot of what Frank said and

13:50Marshall and Sabrina so I think that’s important for us to recognize interestingly I’ve started to think

13:56about the words that we use in terms of Storytelling and I’m sort of embracing

14:03the term of story stewardship right because people tell their stories and we Steward the stories

14:11because the definition of stewardship is the careful and responsible management

14:16of something entrusted to one’s care so I think we start with a foundation of

14:21recognizing that we are stewards if we have an opportunity and a privilege to nurture and journey someone’s story

14:29so I think to answer the question if there’s an answer there um is to

14:36encourage them to tell their stories and recognize how you stewarded that story

14:41um I think it is important for us to be brave in this space we see in real time

14:47that we are learning from each other so there’s Grace that’s given along with

14:52accountability right so I know it may seem like a um a roundabout answer but I

14:57do hope that it nurtures and spars and ignites for Megan an opportunity to

15:03think about how the stewardship happens and how the people who are involved in this opportunity and engagement tell

15:09their stories which is part of what memory Fox does um as well as intentional and the way that it’s framed

15:15and for thehood and Sabrina’s organization so um I just want to leave it there for

15:21rumination wonderful can I give two visual quick examples of that yeah pop

15:26it up let’s go okay so this is a typical white savior story

15:35I I call it no best positioning an unnamed black youth with a gratitude

15:40message basically without this organization I don’t know what I would do um and so this is kind of that

15:46exactly what was being discussed in practice this is a listen best approach if you change your posture to listening

15:52better now he’s got a name and a title and he gives his advice what needs to happen youth Outreach workers need to be

15:59involved in youth friendly shelters the organizational message at the bottom says hey we listened to him now he’s got

16:05a name we follows his advice we added social workers we’re co-designing with young people so this makes the

16:12organization in my mind look a lot more capable it also makes him look competent not just empathetic right and then if

16:19you look at it broadly this is an organization that works on immunization predominantly on the continent of Africa

16:25um and it tells a couple of stories number the Imes an unnamed black girl unnamed black boys running in a field

16:33Bill Gates turned into special art with a quote a name and a title an unnamed black nurse or doctor and a ridiculously

16:39happy unnamed black mother with kids so one story it tells us is that some people are worth listening to and that’s

16:45bill because he’s got a voice and some people aren’t nobody else on the page has a voice nobody even has a name right

16:51the other thing that we do is we put 86% of our imagery internationally is Mo is

16:57women or kids alone or women with kids we don’t show couples together so we

17:02don’t feel like families are intact we don’t show kids in school often so we think they’re not getting educated this

17:08is what it could look like now image number one is the president of South Africa who’s the head of the African

17:13response to covid talking about his advice there’s a married couple who are named and they give their advice Bill

17:19keeps his real estate because he certainly deserves it the nurse gets her real estate and her name and guidance

17:25too so here everyone looks competent and like a contributor and these are just some some ways that you can think about

17:32visually what the difference is and the interesting thing is that it’s pretty imperceptible the changes but what you

17:39start to do is ask different questions and perceive people differently may may I add as well to uh

17:48oh that part so the other piece I think because I’m I’m reading the question so how can we avoid the themes of white

17:53saviorism uh so I do this session around um it’s called how to engage donors using Community centered practices and

18:00one of the them that I talk about in there is creating a sense of belonging you know we often other donors and so

18:07that I think contributes to the white savior complex because it’s these poor kids over here or it creates that

18:15authoritarianism component so so finding opportunities to to create a sense of

18:20community Through language uh is critical so you can say hey this is our community as you’re talking to the donor

18:27you don’t say these these kids need your help it’s like you know these kids need our help and can you be a part of that

18:33so that’s an inclusive way of of of bringing I think those two groups together and and and starting the the

18:39the road to um uh avoiding that wh saer complex I also do recognize that Amber

18:46um and Natalia’s specific questions with regards to anonymity and confidentiality

18:52which are very very important and something I would get to when it comes to organizational responsibility

18:57particularly when we’re considering in consent because um that’s a whole conversation about how consent actually

19:03is given and so as Marshall would have pointed out that is when visuals are put

19:08forward and there should be very much uh there should be very serious consent where that is concerned where naming is

19:15concerned and anonymity I think from a research perspective that’s um slightly different not that that was what was

19:21being said but it is of an important question how do we balance that um so it’s something when we get into tactics

19:27that we could discuss person though yeah we could do a whole a whole seminar on consent it feels like and all the

19:33nuances of it so yeah all right cool we’ll keep going then so question number five Story collection strategies and

19:40this is from Aaron um what is the best time to capture stories from our clients

19:46we have run into issues where we capture content early in the process of providing services but along our Pro but

19:53our process is long and often affected by outside factors and the perspectives change change later uh Frank we we’ll

20:01we’ll kick it to you and I know Marshall you had some something you wanted to add and certainly if anybody else wants to

20:06join in um and I’m gonna give this all to my buddy I saw her already in the chat room

20:12Diana I’m gonna be paring what you say Diana but I think honestly if it’s a long process so let’s say you did the

20:19the the interview early on and now it’s this long process maybe some aspects of change and in in that

20:26process go back just go back to that that person and say does this story still make sense let them know all of

20:33the new pieces of the information that have come that have laid to the ground and then just then re again get their

20:40consent again or adjust uh but absolutely I I involve them every step

20:45of the process even after the interview uh continue to reach out to them to make sure that it still makes sense for them

20:52that it’s honoring them as changes have happened Marshall did you said you you

20:58had had some some additional points to that earlier when we were talking yeah I mean I think certainly thinking through

21:05the script right who’s in charge of the script is it a story that you’re telling and you’re controlling that or is it a

21:12story that you’re seeding control to community and saying what’s the story you want to tell and how do we best capture that so that really shifts how

21:20you would think about that process so if the community is wanting to tell a story in a certain way um it might mean you

21:27talk to people in a different cas than you would you would originally thought and so I would say you know my goto is

21:34ask people do you want to be represented a if so how and then what advice and

21:41guidance do you have what would you like to say because what I found is that people are so conditioned to respond

21:48with a certain type of story like you’re asking me something so you I know I have to give you trauma circumstance

21:54condition um so if you ask me to tell my story in a certain in my own words I’m going to tell you that story because

22:00that’s what I’m expected to tell so we have to make it very clear to people that we want you to first come with your

22:06advice and guidance if you want to tell your story you can but more importantly what is that piece of guidance and I’ll

22:12give one anecdote when I was at the Hilton Foundation that worked on people experiencing homelessness and we did a

22:19video for the board and you know the board was interested in the work and I had I did the interview and I asked a

22:24woman you could tell your story or not people told it but more importantly what’s your advice she gave her advice she said more people

22:32uh more Health more uh mental health workers with the street teams get people into Care and housing that much faster

22:38she was given a title her name was there that was her bit of advice one of the Hilton family members stopped the video

22:44and said wait wait wait during the board meeting is are we following what she said in our strategy so what could have

22:50been a moment where he felt sorry for a a woman living outside became a moment where he was taking advice from somebody

22:57with real experience with a checkbook asking about her strategy and he didn’t ask why he wasn’t feeling sad he just

23:04asked a different question about her advice and it was very telling to

23:09me powerful yes wonderful wonderful wonderful okay all right question number

23:15six and this is a little more fundraising specific from Jenny how can

23:21we showcase the yucky side of our mission to help donors truly understand

23:27but avoid being too grass EIC for context we work with survivors of domestic violence and abuse but this

23:33question is relevant to to to several missions uh this one is for

23:39Sabrina what I always say to this question is you have to be you have to

23:44get creative and you have to tell the story from a different perspective

23:49hopefully you can still hear me um but when especially when you were talking about some uh batter spouse you know

23:57tell the story from that bag that’s packed in the closet that bag that you know that someone who’s been battered

24:05has is there is waiting for you to get the courage for when you want to leave

24:10um tell it from that point of view if you’re working with youth tell the story

24:16from the point of view of you know if you’re working with youth because I work with youth you know you got a gym you got a basketball tell the story from

24:23that basketball point of view if you’re working with the unhoused and you’re mission is getting people from being

24:30unhoused to house tell the story from that box that box that they use for

24:36their house to turn it into the moving box into their new home and so you have

24:43to get creative in that imagery um around that one of the things that we

24:49did as well um when I was with my organization working with youth is we paired them with um an artist and they

24:57shared their story with the artist and then the artist took that story and

25:03turned it into a art piece and it became very the therapeutic for them but it was

25:08allowing them to tell their story but have it reflected in artwork so you just

25:14have to get creative in that process and it’s not always about showing a person

25:22you can tell the story from an inanimate object that would be my best advice to

25:28you I don’t know if anyone else um has any input around that but that’s what I’ve seen that has worked in

25:36this someone said whether artists paid or volunteers they were volunteers

25:42because that we asked them to be that’s that’s what um usually happens

25:48if you ask artists to volunteer they they will volunteer but that was one of the best projects we ever did um because

25:55it’s a one-on-one conversation with the artists um and the kids were able to

26:00share their story in their own words and then it it turned into a into an art piece and so they saw their journey in

26:07that art and we were able to share the journey through the art piece um with

26:12donors and then we actually um sold the paintings um and the kids got back I

26:19think whatever we sold it for the kids got back like 50% of of the of the of the artwork

26:27payment beautiful any anybody else I feel like this is a really important you know really interesting topic in a lot

26:33of ways yeah I just to add Sabrina I love that and and just to add a little to that as well it’s it goes back to

26:40describing the the situation you know again versus uh you know describing the

26:46people in in that space so so yeah I mean I just I loved I loved your response Sabrina so again I just would

26:52lean on describing uh the situation uh so I I okay sorry I was my brain started

26:57to f litter away and now it came back so here’s what I was going to say so it’s very easy to talk about descri and I’ll

27:05give you an example of Migrant a migrant so this happened a few years ago um in regards to a fast- pitch program where

27:11you get a three minute opportunity three minutes to do a fast pitch to a bunch of donors and so the so his first this

27:18gentleman’s first iteration of his story his pitch was to describe the migrant as

27:24dirty smelly um all of these really negative based uh adjectives and uh and

27:32I asked him how would you is that something that you would like to be described as and he was like No And so

27:38you can talk about the situation the long journey uh what what was left behind why is even making this journey

27:45into the us talk about that you know don’t talk about these things that where it just conjures up these nobody would

27:52want to be described as that so that’s I wanted to land on that because what Sabrina said was absolutely correct it’s

27:58the situation that matters it’s not all of the yucky side so don’t talk about bruises don’t talk about all of those

28:03things talk about being in that space with all the stuff that’s around you that’s happening that has caused this

28:10situation and going back to the competent side as well you one could say I’ve been through some stuff I’m not

28:16going to talk about it but what I’ll tell you is these are the things that mattered and these are the things that need to change right and you can follow

28:23up with statistics about what’s happening in a community that kind of Drive the more negative point home um

28:30but again who are you casting as competent and who are you casting as empathetic is

28:35a question to start with a okay all right uh we will charge

28:43ahead so that was uh so building a culture of ethical

28:49storytelling which I think for a lot of people is kind of tough because you from most people here are probably trying to

28:55build a culture of ethical storytelling at their organization and maybe having a hard time getting it over the line so uh

29:01this is from Caitlyn um how do you communicate the importance of ethical

29:06storytelling and gain buyin from within an organization and this is for

29:12Marina excellent question because you set the tone from an organizational standpoint where culture is is concerned

29:19so thank you for this question what I would say is have a measurable plan

29:24right and because in the interest of time I wouldn’t go into much detail but I would say there are three pillars that

29:30I consider when you’re thinking of a a strong plan in your organization to be able to shift the Paradigm one is

29:39looking at your people and when you look at your people assess who you have literally look at your organizational

29:45structure who is part of this process assess and analyze their

29:51competence what they have then go to concur or um counter right so think

29:57about about what are things that they already have in terms of their strengths do you need to add any assets in that regard and then you implement and

30:04monitor right so that’s one from the people pillar the second is look at your processes so there are existing

30:11processes within your organization so they could be um performance reviews after Action reviews there are things

30:18that are already embedded in the process of either the organizational cycle or a project right the life cycle of a

30:25project or an employees life cycle and really start to think about opportunities to assess how are we

30:32looking at the ethical story stewardship or ethical storytelling within that scope I could get into more detail but

30:38I’m just kind of giving those to you the third thing is your product right so

30:44look measurably at your product you might say we want 100% of our annual reports to have no um harmful language

30:53and we could measure it from some of the um resources that Frank gives intentional or Sabrina and you can

31:00measure that right a simple search in the document can say do we have the word disadvantage you know and within what

31:06context because it may be out of context and it’s fine so you can measure that we would say 50% of our proposals have a

31:14certain kind of language so I would come to those points look at those three pillars your people your processes and

31:20your products and you have a measurable plan so you’re looking at this you are being committed because part of it is

31:27that we fall off the wagon because we get you know impatient we get to kind of like I don’t know if it’s really working

31:33but the reality is that our funders or investors are changing right there’s a

31:39society that’s changing and more aware of this and those that we are partnering with in community are also more aware so

31:47let’s not feel like we have to stick with the status quo we have to be brave and take the risk but have a plan and

31:55those three pillars are what I would kind of put forward so hopefully that helps a bit a measurable

32:02plan yeah that’s wonderful yeah one thing out to that Marina I 100% agree

32:08and I’ve LED Communications at different levels throughout my career one thing has wrung true in all of those positions

32:15I’ve never really had to ask permission from anybody to develop the assets I was developing so the board didn’t see these

32:22the CEO didn’t see them I had a control that I didn’t realize at the time and so

32:27do all those things is 100% the right way to do it and you can simply more

32:34much more than you think just start making these changes without talking about it and show the progress because

32:41that can happen too when I showed you those examples visually there’s no difference between What A and B look

32:47like you just respond differently so you can just do this without permission

32:52that’s the permission I’m giving you do it no it’s true it’s like like viral you

32:58know thing’s going viral they CH you don’t even know it’s there it’s like what and then we just ch what’s that

33:04phrase like do it and then like ask for forgiveness ask for forgiveness sorry

33:09that’s right prise you’ll never have to apologize for things like if you give people for example a way to withdraw

33:15consent for stories right if you provide that to your storytellers I mean you

33:20don’t need board approval you know for the for something like that and I don’t think they would they would blink an eye

33:26about it so there’s probably to your point a lot of things that you can do uh without without having to get formal

33:33consent from your bosses so or consent maybe I’m using that wrong but okay cool any anything else to chime in on that

33:40one because that that’s a really really gets to the heart of what the issue is it isn’t always the will I should have

33:45wrote it I should have written it down Marina that was beautiful like you worry it’s coming up

33:56follow wonderful wonderful all right so uh let’s move on to question number

34:01eight uh Story collection strategies uh this is from Melissa how do you navigate

34:08the dichotomy of your organization’s sense of urgency we need a story right now for a donor with working at the

34:15Speed Of Trust I love that phrase the Speed Of Trust that’s really interesting I’m going to think a lot more about that

34:22but um this one’s for Marshall um a couple of ways to go about that I I have found that my focus

34:30historically was very narrow on the people being served that we were meant to serve but there’s a lot there’s a a

34:38much bigger story that could be told if so if it was a the provision of a health intervention right the story could be

34:44told through the private sector who developed the intervention it could be told through the government that

34:51building the program to get it into people’s hands it could be told through a health worker that’s doing that

34:57programming um so I think you can tell a story about the more complex nature of

35:04solving problems is done in Partnership right and so how are we zooming out from

35:09just the end user thanking you for whatever you did to make their lives better to the whole ecosystem of people

35:16playing their roles from the people in community saying this is what we need to the other actors saying hey we can do

35:22that and this is what we can do and so I think there’s another way that you can get at having some of those in the bank

35:30if there’s an urgent matter coming up um that that could help tell a different

35:36story that people might that might read as as novel for people so almost like having a story

35:42bank that you’re a curator of this there your stories of your organization your your community members but at your

35:49fingertips when you need it yep expand the cast to include private sector to

35:55include government to include philanthropy to include experts in

36:00community so you’ve got lots of people telling diff telling uh stories in a different way cool I love it anyone

36:09else wonderful all right we’ll go on to number nine then uh this is about going

36:15revisiting consent and this is from Michelle what is your advice regarding

36:21attaining informed consent on stories especially from children and Sabrina

36:26this one’s for you well this one’s for me like I said I work with kids for over 20 years right um and what we did and

36:34what I have seen work is we got consent right up front um from the parents and

36:40to tell stories but it wasn’t just getting the consent right UPF front it was getting the consent UPF front but

36:46the language that we used to get the consent was very plain spoken language not only that we did have a legal review

36:53the language so we can make sure that you know all the basis was were covered and outside of that it’s not just having

37:01that consent upfront when we actually use their story we we went back and got

37:09their consent again right because you know how it is in this world um like

37:15again I work with kids so we’re signing our kids up for a program and we’re just signing off on everything we’re not

37:20really reading anything um and then you all of a sudden see your child in a newspaper or you know picture your child

37:28in a newspaper or anything like that we we went back and we got consent again

37:33and there’s some things that we really didn’t do we don’t use a child’s full name you know we may use their first

37:40name and last initials um we don’t want to give out that type of information and

37:45so for each program and in each way we were going to use their story we went

37:51back and got consent from the parent and also not just the parent but from the

37:58child because it is their story it is theirs right and so in doing that you

38:05want to make sure that you honor that child and if their story if they want

38:10their story to be told and how their story is being told um and we share that information with them and so that’s how

38:17we went about um consent of course you know with the legal side of things we got it upfront legal language but in a

38:25plain way that parents had questions we can answer those questions but as we’re going through that Journey because you

38:30have to remember for us kids were with us from the time they were six years old

38:36all the way till they were 18 years old our program was a success that’s how long they were with us so within that

38:43Journey there were several times when their stories could be told so for each time their story was told each program

38:51that they went through they re um reconsented for us to use their story

38:57throughout out the way so that is the best way that I’ve seen um for it to happen if I may ask a follow-up question

39:04then did you tend to do this digitally or would you do it all print something off and have them physically sign these

39:12documents Drive I was was print off and physically have them sign the documents

39:18I know in this day and age of you can do that electronically right um a lot of people

39:24will do that but for the people that we served it was better for us to have it

39:31printed read it ask any questions that you may have and fill it out we did have

39:38the option for the initial membership to be done electronic but again as you’re going through the process and you’re

39:45asking people um to uh reconsent to their story being told that was not

39:51electronic at all that was a conversation this is how we’re going to tell the story this is how we’re going

39:57to use it and getting their the the reconsent that way this is how we’re

40:02going to use I love that part that part so so important um anyone else because I feel like everybody probably has

40:08different experiences when it comes to this other tips this is one I really

40:14really struggle with because if an organization is providing services to a community do people actually feel like

40:20they have the agency to say no right it makes consent a lot harder true consent

40:26to get hard harder to get because I’m getting something in return that might feel at risk and so it’s a really it’s a

40:33hard one and I I don’t have a good answer for it except that pivot to advice and guidance

40:39so if I’m and again I I question should little kids be pictured at all could you picture the back of their heads or like

40:45how could you do it when a child can’t give consent and the parents might feel obligated to give consent so it’s it’s a

40:51tricky one too if you pivot if I think about myself do I want to be the poster child from or something in perpetuity on

40:58the internet it might run presid someday yeah exactly probably probably not but if I were in that position giving my

41:05advice and guidance as an expert even if I’m a kid I might feel slightly different about it so I think the the

41:12content your capturing is one and again this is a sticky one that I don’t have a great answer for um you know I think

41:20Sabrina what you outlined is the best of the best that we can do given the

41:26reality of what it is [Music] and can I just add a little to that as well I I have a real world example where

41:33I did something like that and then in reflection I’m like I shouldn’t have put the weight on the person to say hey can

41:38I use your real image can I use your real face and can you can we use your whole name she didn’t know any better

41:44she said yeah and um the story and then mind you really quick just it was a

41:49story it was a year- end appeal we focused the reason why I do the work I do is because I because of this mistake

41:56we focused on her her um tribulations we focused on the hardships barely focused on her

42:02resiliency that she was back in school and Etc and um used her real name used

42:08her real uh uh picture one of her classmates who did not get along with her saw saw the story and made fun of

42:14her then she read the story and was like I did not consent to this and it was it

42:21was a painful lesson and so so yeah to Marshall’s point it’s sticky because even if they say yes should I have even

42:27asked the question you know and certainly that was just this is literally the reason why I’m here doing

42:33this because I don’t want anybody out there to make the same mistake I did in that regard you know it’s interesting

42:40that you say that because again like I said I spent 20 years in an organization and one of their biggest

42:47fundraising efforts is around a program of naming the Youth of the year and the

42:53conversation has been the last couple years talk about poverty porn like are

42:59we highlighting these kids because of their struggle right and it’s this what

43:05it is is that is that what we’re doing um and it’s been a huge struggle because

43:11you do want to share you want to share that the kids

43:17that you’re working with are truly overcoming are coming from some challenging situations and that what the

43:26program is doing is helping them overcome those challenges but at the end of the day um is it poverty porn like

43:34are you putting it on display for the world to see to feel sorry for them you know and so it’s been a real struggle

43:42and um we’re we’re at a Crossroads to see which way we’re going to go with this because it goes back to that

43:48language of at risk um to changing it from from the the kids that need us the

43:54most and how do you define at risk in is a person um that comes from two parent

44:01working household are they considered at risk because they don’t come home to Mama and Daddy you know they come home

44:08to an empty house because they’re both working now is that something that should be elevated when you’re talking

44:14about the Youth of the year so it’s been this ongoing conversation around and around and it it really is um a

44:23challenge and it is a mindset shift for not only the organizations but also for

44:29the donors and for the staff when you’re working within that model

44:35yeah the other thing wonderful I think about is you

44:40know I have a talk that I give and I started by saying shout out a word you a single word you would use to define or

44:46describe yourself people put in the chat ambitious curious confident happy what

44:52nobody puts poor marginalized disenfranchised vulnerable why not because nobody wants to be

44:57depicted that way and so in telling a story We tend to tell the story that most benefits our organization and that

45:04narrow sliver if the story if the aperture was wider and said like how do we build connected tissue between people

45:11like I like soccer or God I hate reading and this you know school sucks right now but I have a lot of friends and it’s fun

45:17like things everyone can relate to oh and here’s something else I’m going through but if we tell a more fome

45:23picture and story of somebody I think there’s we will find that we connect with them

45:29on a more human personto person um way than just I feel sorry for you with more

45:36oh we share those things in common that I didn’t really know about but now I do because someone gave you the space to

45:41tell that me tell that part of you excellent excellent well we’ll get

45:46we got one more question and then we’ll get to our wrap-up question this last one’s for Marina uh and we we’ve talked

45:53about this a lot I think at this point but it’s interesting to call it out so using asset-based language this is from

45:59Kristen what are some words or phrases that shouldn’t be used when storytelling

46:05that would further colonialism racism Etc all these these these difficult topics um it would be interesting to

46:11hear your thoughts on that Marina yeah powerful as you said Chris a lot of it we’ve already touched on but

46:18interestingly there’s some deep words that seem so normal that we sometimes

46:24use that I’ve kind of chosen three I actually quite like the work of um well one of the writings by an Hendrick um

46:31Jenkins and her the title I I’ll share it with kie so she could share it with our audiences it’s time to put an end to

46:38Supremacy language in International Development that’s um a piece that I go back to quite often so for example we

46:45use the word word the field right so that has Colonial Legacy I mean I come

46:50from Trinidad and Tobago we were a colony we understand that the field is a plantation setting where you have the

46:57great house and then you have the field so you understand that Dynamic already but when we’re talking about the field

47:03we’re speaking about countries just say the context just say the country just say the location and not necessarily the

47:09field now it might feel like okay but I use this so often it’s benign I myself

47:14very often and com am confronted by it but I encourage us to think about that as one example um beneficiaries is a

47:22word that we use and I think it it has a level of benevolence in it but it also is framed in

47:28dependency right so we might want to think about that when we might say um our community experts instead you know

47:35Marshall spoke a lot about reframing the actors in this this thing that we’re in

47:40um or people we work with for example it’s it’s it has to be contextual because we sometimes want to put a word

47:47that’s easy when we have to do the proposal quickly or what have you um another word that we use is Target

47:53population or phrase rather and that has military Legacy actually so when we

47:59think about a Target we think about it in that way now of course you might say oh just leave it it’s no big deal but

48:05again when we’re thinking about really elevating our ourselves and the way that

48:10we use language and the message that we are sending so there may be um I really like Frank’s work when it comes to

48:18actual replaced words you know so I say don’t use this but what do we use instead because we want to convey a

48:25message so we may say instead of Target population our main Partners um or

48:30something else like that we can also start to really contemplate so there’s a lot of work there um but it’s an

48:36excellent question because then you start to really get and you could see that I’m I’m a very tactical person so

48:43thinking about how you actually plan and tactically um and strategically do these things so really

48:50really I really like that question but open to other panelists for their point of view as well else yeah yeah I love it

48:58so thank you Marina and and Carly put something in the in the chat box so I actually

49:04have a document that talks I call it the introductory guide in using asab asab

49:09based language I know Sabrina and Marina have a copy of it so I really encourage you to click on that link and it’s just

49:16a starter guide of how to use different words for the words that have historically been used that have created

49:21this connotation in our mind like what Sabrina said without risk that’s like literally the number one when you say at

49:27risk today who do you think of you think of black and brown kids so so there’s opportunities and ways to shift Language

49:34by simple movement of the language uh so and it’s and the other piece I want to say and I think it says it in the

49:40document be prepared you know language shifts and changes things that we thought were

49:45appropriate 10 years ago they’re not appropriate now and so it’s just really

49:50that’s the other piece so everything that we’re talking about now um I would hope most of it sticks as 10 years from

49:57now we don’t know we don’t know like why did I say under resarch and so anyway so just know that

50:04we’re all on this journey together uh but but as long as we’re moving in a place that honors and uplifts our

50:11communities primarily those of color and those in poverty then we’re then we’re on the right then we’re on the right track so I really appreciate this

50:18conversation and that question particularly wonderful yeah I think people get a little scared and and

50:24that’s okay but I think like you said I mean it’s about The Learning Journey you know so all right so we’re going to do

50:30our wrapup question this is the final question and this is for everybody we’re going to start with Frank this is about

50:36storytelling strategies from Neil all right so what is the best way to tell

50:41someone else’s story that includes hardships without an exploited narrative now we’ve talked a little bit about this

50:47but if you can say your best and we’ll just go I’ll the next yeah this is great

50:52because um when I give my presentation the one I mentioned earlier about how to engage donors using Community centered

50:58practices there often becomes like well so I have to say all positive things I can’t say what the issue is and it’s

51:05like no that no you have to say what the issue is so it’s all about framing it’s all about what you lead with so the best

51:11thing I can say is you lead with their aspirations and then you talk about the actual systemic dispar the reason why

51:17the systemic disparities exist so again a simple one would be like instead of saying at risk youth you could say a

51:23black student uh striving to succeed in her community that has been historically under resourced gives a much better framing of

51:30what that is so to me it’s always leading with the aspirations I gave the example earlier about south Tucson and

51:36this is literally truth rich in culture rich in art rich in music and yet it’s

51:41still historically underresourced so to me that’s a great way to honor somebody’s Story by Leading with the

51:49their aspirations first awesome next we’ll go

51:54Marshall um I would say it possible don’t tell their story for them let them

51:59tell their story themselves in whatever way they would like to um but beyond

52:04that yes to ethical storytelling yes to asset-based framing but again if you’re

52:10trying to solve an issue start with the advice and guidance of the person that you’re talking about because what that

52:15does is change the perception of the viewer listener reader of the capability

52:21of people in community to be co-creators of solutions versus receivers of services right so start with advice and

52:28guidance give space if they want to tell their story if they don’t that’s cool wonderful all right next we’ll go

52:35Sabrina that Marshall you’re right on it mine was like amplify amplify their

52:40voice let them tell their story it is their story allow them the opportunity

52:47to amplify their own voices in the way that they want their story to be told um

52:55and so that is that’s probably the best tip that I could give you you know when

53:01people have the um ability to tell their own story in their own words it empowers

53:06them and ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do we’re trying to empower the people that we serve so allow them to be

53:14empowered by being having the ability to share their own story all right then Marina take us home

53:23just to wrap up of all of it there’s everything I en I think the only thing I would add is

53:30stick by your decision As Leaders we have to be brave and sometimes you may

53:35put at the corner of your website and say this is how we’re doing things now right as Marshall said you could quietly

53:41do it but you’re not changing you are staying the course so that you are

53:46standing by your decision to do this you’re not wavering because you know it’s a better way and you have allies

53:54right here in this conversation so know that you’re not alone and that we can stay connected What marshall said I

54:00really you know build connective tissue between people that is what we’re here for so all what we said before and stay

54:08the course be Unapologetic well I think I would speak for everybody here is is if anybody does

54:14run into challenges they could reach out to any of you with questions or even just a quick tip on how to deal with

54:20somebody maybe a board member who’s being obstinate um I’m sure you all have experienced that before and so um I

54:27encourage anyone to please please uh reach out to to our lovely uh panelists

54:33so all right well we did it we are under under four uh or it’s almost four o’clock here eastern time so we’ll uh

54:40we’ll close it up so thank you thank you all so much um I think we’re all very

54:45appreciative of of the energy that you approach these topics and and the uh certainly the aptitude you have for

54:52being able to dive deep into them so um uh I I will do a quick uh memory Fox

54:58demo for anybody who’s interested of course I love to do that at the end but first I I I do want to make sure we keep

55:04this conversation going um we we created a narratives with Integrity LinkedIn

55:10group uh Carly’s going to go ahead and drop that in the chat uh so that if anybody is it’s brand new um we just

55:17want to kind of give a platform to these types of conversations uh we’re sort of obsessed with it I know I personally am

55:23and so there’s something punk rock about it that I very much enjoy so uh I I very we very much want to continue this

55:30conversation um further especially as it changes over time if you have not I assum pretty much everybody here if you

55:37haven’t downloaded a copy of the 2023 ethical storytelling report go ahead and grab it um certainly we’ll be putting

55:43out some more uh content as time goes on especially from a lot of our thought leaders and then finally uh I hope to

55:50see you all at our next installment of narratives with Integrity to save the date for Tuesday June 11 11th um at 3

55:58p.m. eastern time we’re going to discuss how to build a culture of ethical storytelling um at your organization

56:05which we talked about a little bit earlier how difficult that that can be surprisingly but some interesting ideas

56:10on how to actually make that happen so uh yes if anybody wants to hang out otherwise uh please have a great day and

56:16thank you all for what you do and making the world a better place thanks

56:22for share my screen real quick thank you yes have a wonderful

56:29day all right so I’m just going to throw up this one slide right here um just to

56:36kind of show you all how it works at a high level so memory Fox is a DIY software that helps you collect stories

56:42from your community keep them all organized in one place and design all that content into amazing ways either

56:48using our free video editor and story presentation tools or using our canva integration and I don’t know if y’all

56:54have used canva before could canvas is the best thing in the world we definitely do it’s amazing it’s free so

57:00I highly recommend checking it out we are integrated with it so you can pull your content right into there and do all

57:05kinds of cool things with it it’s sort of an end to-end storytelling solution that streamlines your entire

57:10storytelling process from um that’s going to make your life a lot easier um while also doing so in a way that

57:17considers modern methods of ethical storytelling like we talked about today for example we have a way for uh

57:24contributors to withdraw consent we’re looking at building ways that will notify people every time their piece of

57:30content is used all we’re trying to really dive deep into that stuff and um so I think I look forward to kind of

57:37expanding on that so thank you all for your time Carly’s going to drop and so that’s all we have today so I think uh

57:42we dropped all the links so thank you all please reach out anytime and uh tell great stories appreciate you