Now What? Nonprofit Storytelling in a Time of Upheaval

We at Vermont Story Lab are hearing from many of you, our nonprofit colleagues, that you want to tell your stories, both as individuals and organizations, but how do you do that mindfully, respectfully and with purpose in a time of upheaval and trauma? 

We want to help.

Please join us at one, two or all of our three free summer online labs, designed to be collaborative, to encourage deep listening and sharing, to help your organization pivot with its pitch and message, and to offer at-a-distance storytelling feedback, strategies and tools to tell stories in this time of social distancing.

Nonprofit Staff Story Circles:
Sharing Our Own Stories During this Time of Crisis
June 30, 10 am – 12 pm • Zoom

Story Circles are a way to share what we’re going through individually while also bearing witness to the experience of others. VT Story Lab has partnered with the Vermont Folklife Center to offer this opportunity virtually to non-profit staff around the state to check-in and connect during this tumultuous time…

This is Our Story, This Is Our Story Now:
Pivoting to Tell the Story of Our Relevance in a Time of Profound Uncertainty
July 7, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm • Zoom

Lab Leaders will guide a conversation about how to pivot to telling the new story of your organization or the old story from a fresh angle that is relevant to this time of trauma…

Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been
Project Kitchen: Testing Storytelling Strategies and Tools in a Time of Social Distancing
July 23, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm • Zoom

One thing is for certain: this has been a time to try new things. You and your organization have new voices to tell new stories, using tools that are new. So here’s an opportunity to ask for feedback from nonprofit peers on your in-process storytelling projects…

The Camera & the Pen: A Creative Storytelling Retreat for Nonprofits • July 18 – 19, 2019 • Grand Isle, VT

Join us for this two-day workshop, a rare opportunity to dig deep into the how, what and why of visual storytelling by focusing on the real-world skills needed for creating beautiful photographs and compelling written storylines. Come explore and practice how a harmonious marriage of text and image allows your nonprofit stories to fully live and breathe and connect your communities through action.

Let’s Talk: An Intro to Audio Storytelling for Nonprofits • July 15, 2019, 1-4 pm • Burlington, VT

Learn the art and tech of audio storytelling for interviews, podcasts, social media and more. Practice recording short audio pieces and learn about options for editing and sharing your work. Discuss strategies and best practices for telling audio stories with inspiring examples.

Video: The Best Tool In Your Social Toolbox • June 5, 2019, 5-8 pm • Burlington, VT

Learn the why, how, and best practices for getting your story to your ideal audience through short videos and animations. Presenters will share examples, best practices, affordable tools, and provide time for hands-on experimentation.

Stories for Change: A Nuts & Bolts Guide for Nonprofits • May 31, 2019, 9 am – 12 pm • Waterbury, VT

This interactive lab will guide participants through the basics of storytelling and focus on the most effective ways to craft and share their organization’s stories.

Get Organized – Strategize!
Friday October 5, 2018, 9 am-Noon
Waterbury, VT

Simplify the storytelling process and elevate your communications by learning how to gather all elements into one place. In this lab we will share tools to help you stay organized such as…

Make Time for Story – How to Move Plan to Reality
Friday October 5, 2018, 1-4 pm
Waterbury, VT

Learn how to use storytelling + organizational skills to elevate and celebrate your mission. In this workshop, you will create a storytelling campaign that helps you share your nonprofit’s mission and inspire others. This workshop is your number-one stop for comingling storytelling with organizational realties and deadlines.

Storytelling Basics for Nonprofits
Friday October 26, 2018, 9 am-Noon
Waterbury, VT

This interactive course will guide participants through the nuts and bolts of storytelling and focus on the most effective ways to craft and share their own stories…

Story-Centered Fundraising Appeals
Friday October 26, 2018, 1-4 pm
Waterbury, VT

Do your direct-mail fundraising appeals seem flat and uninspiring? Are you looking to create compelling, story-centered appeals that move supporters to donate? And how do you decide which organizational story to highlight anyway? This lab session will showcase a variety of diverse story-based appeals as strong examples using various layouts and designs…

Stories: The Ultimate Multi-Tasker
Friday November 9, 2018, 9 am-Noon
Randolph, VT

In the ever-evolving world of multimedia storytelling, it’s hard to know which platform will best convey social impact, inspiration, education, or just plain entertainment. This intermediate workshop will provide insight into various media platforms, their main use and how to leverage the uniqueness of each to provide a comprehensive and immersive mission-driven narrative for your organization…

Creating a Confluence of Influence:
Tell Your Story Through the People Who Know it Best
Friday, November 9, 2018, 1-4 pm
Randolph, VT

Communication has changed drastically with the evolution of digital media. On digital platforms, “paying to play” may work for big brands, but when it comes to causes, people are looking to those they trust to help guide their clicking, giving, and volunteering decisions. This workshop will focus on the intersection of storytelling and social media, which plays a big part in the “influencer economy.”

Show, Don’t Tell: Adding Short Videos to Your Toolkit
Thursday March 22, 2018, 5-8 pm and Thursday April 12, 2018, 5-8 pm
RETN Media Factory, Burlington, VT

Help your organization tell its story on social media through the powerful medium of video – no film degree necessary. Use video-making tools and simple strategies to make vibrant videos for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Creating Human-Centered Story Portraits
Thursday February 15, 2018, 9 am-12 pm and 1-4 pm
Vermont Historical Society, Barre, VT

Your participants, donors and volunteers serve as your nonprofit’s most important ambassadors; each one has a compelling story to tell that highlights your organization’s value. Learn how to create these poignant profile-stories for your website, social media platforms, and fundraising campaigns.

Call to Action: Your Invitation to Change the World
Friday January 26, 2018, 9:30-12:30 pm
Congregational Church, Middlebury, VT

Learn how to amplify and elevate your message by leveraging social media, thought leaders, and community influencers. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll create integrated marketing campaigns that tap into the latest communications strategies to tell your story and change the world.

Storytelling & Story Skills for Nonprofits
Friday January 13, 2017, 9:30 am-3 pm
Left Bank, North Bennington

Do you want to learn how stories can help strengthen your nonprofit’s communications, outreach and fundraising efforts?

Adventure’s Other Half: Storytelling to Elevate the Impact of Service
Tuesday January 16, 2017, 9:30 am-12:30 pm
Richmond Free Library, Richmond

This Story Lab aims to offer a space where we can highlight the breadth of services provided by our fellow Vermont nonprofits, and develop creative ways to follow our missions using narrative, storytelling approaches.

How to Think Like a Journalist to Share your Nonprofits Story
Tuesday January 17, 1-4 pm
Richmond Free Library, Richmond

Learn from a veteran journalist and nonprofit development & communications director how to share your story effectively with traditional media outlets. Find out how to write and communicate your nonprofit’s mission, program results, and events so they help you get out the word.

Pitch Fest: How to connect your nonprofit’s stories to a wider audience
Thursday January 26, 2017, 9:30-11:30 am
Catamount Arts, St. Johnsbury, VT

Try out stories ideas you want to pitch to the media! Learn pre-writing story short-cuts. Evaluate when a photo/caption-but-NO-story might be the best approach. Come meet your colleagues who also write the PR and do the fund raising. Let’s collaborate, not compete!

Storytelling Strategies That Move People to Donate
Thursday May 25, 2017, 1-4 pm
Waterbury Public Library

At the heart of your work as a nonprofit communicator is the powerful mission-driven story that your organization has to share. How effectively are you bringing that story to funders, grantors, businesses, and individual donors so that they feel moved to support your work over the long-term?

Minimal Resource Filmmaking
Friday June 2, 2017, 1-4 pm
VT Folklife Center, Middlebury

Learn to create short videos using technology you already own such as mobile phones and iPods. Join Mary Rizos, of the Vermont Folklife Center, for an introduction to ethnography as a powerful tool in the documentation of voices, histories and community stories.

Top Tips for Digital Media Outreach
June 12, 2017, 1-4 pm
RETN Media Factory, Burlington

Get started telling your organization’s story online and via video. Learn strategies for reaching your audience and explore digital media tools that elevate and amplify your story. RETN’s Gine Ferrara and Ross Ransom will share great examples and provide a basic toolkit for getting started.

Storytelling Strategies that Move People to Donate
Thursday June 22, 2017, 1-4 pm
Marlboro College Graduate Center, Brattleboro

At the heart of your work as a nonprofit communicator is the powerful mission-driven story that your organization has to share. How effectively are you bringing that story to funders, grantors, businesses, and individual donors so that they feel moved to support your work over the long-term?

Learn how Vermont Story Lab and RETN’s Media Factory help nonprofits with video storytelling.

Hear Kristen Wirkkala of the Community Health Centers of Burlington talk about using stories in her organization.