How To: Sharing Your Impact Through Stories

By Maria Dieter, Communications Coordinator, PSI “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” – Mother Teresa At PSI and NGOs like us, we’re often focused on statistics. It’s with great pride our website reads: Last year, PSI added 38.1 million years of healthy life

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PSI Ambassador Debra Messing Inspires Others to Raise Awareness and Help Stop HIV

By Margaret Cohen, Online Engagement and Fundraising, PSI   “I just wanted to share a little story about someone I met who had AIDS,” begins Teri, a former medical technician remembering the day in 1982 the first AIDS patient walked through the doors of her suburban Minneapolis hospital. She is warmed by the gratitude he

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Storytelling

Why Stories are Important to NGOs

By Kaylin Fabian, Online Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, PSI NGOs usually have an easy time talking about the details of their interventions. Some, like PSI, pride themselves on providing data and evidence to prove their efficacy. But when it comes time to telling a meaningful story that shows the impact of their work, too many NGOs

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Half the Sky: Documentary Focuses on Women Around the World

PBS will premiere the two-part documentary Half the Sky on October 1. The film builds on the bestselling book written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn by traveling around the world to share the struggles and challenges faced by women. WuDunn and Executive Producer Mikaela Beardsley take to the USAID Impact blog to discuss the series, the role of USAID and the power of storytelling. Read about the project below and watch the trailer at the top to learn more.

Storytelling is a powerful tool.  It can raise awareness, build compassion, encourage thinking, and motivate action.  That was the vision behind Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity, the book I wrote with my husband, Nicholas Kristof. Our goal was to bring these incredibly personal and powerful stories of women around the world to a mainstream audience.   When Half the Sky was published, Nick and I were floored by the response. The stories resonated with far more people than we imagined.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) knows that powerful narratives can set the stage for positive action.  From the general public to aid experts in the field, the stories and struggles in the developing play a big role in compelling the general public and aid experts to find solutions to global challenges. Telling these stories is not only an expression of our American values but demonstrates how working together to solve these challenges benefits all of us.

And yet telling a powerful story can be challenging.  Different audiences absorb information differently.  Some need an emotional connection, others respond to hard data and statistics so identifying your audience and finding the right platform is critical.  From films, books, and newspapers to exhibits, mobile gaming, and social media, storytellers are venturing into new and exciting platforms, and adapting the material to resonate with diverse audiences.

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