Stories that Matter
Compelling stories challenge, motivate, educate and inspire. The most compelling ones change you as a person and move you to action.
The 73rd George Foster Peabody Awards were presented at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel on Monday. The awards, housed at the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are the premier industry award for electronic media.
"The Peabody Awards exist to recognize when storytelling is done well in electronic media — when stories matter" says Peabody Awards director, Dr. Jeff Jones. The sole criterion is excellence. Out of more than 1,000 entries, only several dozen are typically awarded each year.
As the Harnisch Foundation, led by visionary philanthropist Ruth Ann Harnisch, shared in tweets from Tom Brokaw's remarks in accepting his lifetime achievement award, "It's not just about 140 characters... It's about serving mankind."
The awards are a highlight of my year. As a board member at Grady College, they make me proud of my affiliation, but moreover I leave a changed person. The excellence the winners reflect — and so often the bravery many have shown in telling stories — make it an emotional roller coaster. The program, produced masterfully by Atlanta Image Arts, truly is an event that matters — showcasing stories that matter. The camaraderie and respect of the professionals — from actors you know so well from television, to national news professionals you see daily, to local TV reporters fighting against corruption —you see all in a very real and personal light.
As fundraising professionals, we certainly utilize the electronic media —from the Internet to television (however it is delivered) to radio and ... to engage our donors and prospective donors. These are very powerful tools.
What makes this impact possible is knowing the stories in your organization that matter. Being able to find them is a discipline, and that search must happen every day. How do you illustrate your mission impact? Finding the stories that bring this to life should be a part of your culture — of every department, with every team member.
While the electronic media can share and tell stories in a most powerful and effective way, this must be secondary to your ability to share these stories in person — face to face.
How does your CEO make your successful record of success — the numbers — personal when visiting with potential donors? How are you coaching your staff and volunteers to be ambassadors, to share your stories?
Use all of your resources to most effectively share stories that matter. Put the donor and prospective donor in the story where they can help create a more positive outcome. Move them to make a difference!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.