The Power of Stories in Social Change

This month’s Social Good podcast is on the power of storytelling and it introduces a brand new format. I blogged about the transition here. Basically, most organizations are struggling keeping up with the world – everything is changing so quickly, information is zooming all around the web, opinions are shifting quickly (hello, Komen!) and organizations need to keep up. The premise of the new podcast is to match great organizations with great coaches who can help them navigate the world. And, of course, given who I am and where the world is headed, the discussions will include social media.

We gave it a whirl this month with two amazing, guinea pigs people. Michael Margolis is the founded of Get Storied. I have had the privilege of watching Michael in action explain the power of stories and how organizations can find and commnicate their most pwoerful stories to their communities. He also helps organizations refresh themselves. For instance, he is working with AARP, helping them move from their old story about retirement and benefits to their new story about a next, vibrant phase of life and opportunities.   – and more importantly help organizations how to move from their old story to their new story to keep up with changes to their organization, to their issue, to the world.

At the heart of every great nonprofit is a great story. Finding that story and telling it well is as much art as science. I’ve had the great fortune of watching Michael Margolis, the founder of Get Storied, at work helping nonprofits understand and express their next chapters. We invited Mark Horvath, the inspirational leader of Invisible People, to discuss with Michael through his transition. Mark has always had, in spades, a feeling for the stories of homeless people, beginning, of course, with his own personal story as a former homeless person. Make sure to listen to Mark’s heard here first announcement of his next chapter in the middle of the podcast!For the podcast, we paired Michael with Mark Horvath, otherwise known as Hardly Normal. Mark is an amazing multi-tasker. In addition to his day job as a case worker at a homeless shelter in LA, he also founded Invisible People TV and is a tireless story teller through social media of the every day heroism and struggles of homeless people.

On the podcast, Michael and Mark discuss the evolution of Invisible People to Visible People and through a pre-podcast conversation to the podcast, Michael helped Mark think through (and announce on the podcast, very exciting!) a new phase for his efforts. He is going to move to a regional strategy, working in different cities to provide opportunities for homeless people to be trained in social media to tell their own stories. Getting hyper local is going to help Mark’s effort in re-humanizing homeless people, making them visible, getting them heard enormously.

I meet nonprofit folks all the time who have these incredible, personal stories about the people they serve and feel they need something bigger, broader, more institutional to tell. On the podcast, Michael tells us that good story telling is an invitation to others to participate with you – really moving from asking for help, a position of weakness, to inviting people to participate with you, a position of strength.

I hope the podcast helps you think about your story and how to move it forward. Please let me know if you find this podcast helpful and have any suggestions on the new format.



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Allison Fine

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