In 2017, I partnered with the Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership on a project around Ethical Storytelling. This collaboration resulted in a white paper that examined the storytelling practices of organizations working specifically with young people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. We decided to invite members of the nonprofit community in LA to a workshop based on the project.
We expected about 30 people to attend.
Over 100 showed up.
Clearly, we weren’t the only ones grappling with the question of how to effectively share stories in a way that not only met leadership and organizational objectives like fundraising, but also lifted up the voices of our story-carriers.
Over the past three years, the work around ethical storytelling has expanded through partnerships with EthicalStorytelling.com, Conveners.org, communications consultants around the world, and hundreds of participants at storytelling workshops throughout the United States.
You can listen to podcasts about ethical storytelling here. You can access resources shared in workshops here. A quick google search will reveal a growing number of articles and guides around ethical storytelling practices, particularly for social impact and nonprofit organizations.
Ethical storytelling has, in certain circles, become a ‘thing.’
My hope is to help broaden the context within which the conversation around ethical storytelling takes place: it's not just the 'right thing to do,' it's also essential to building a more just, equitable, and viable way of being within our communities.
Conventional organizational storytelling is rooted in extractive practices and, when we engage in old-school storytelling without awareness, we are complicit with virulent mindsets and ways of being responsible for the genocide of indigenous peoples, the subjugation of black and brown bodies for the economic gain of white bodied people, and climate collapse.
Ethical storytelling is a set of tools and practices that can help us divest from exploitative ways of being and relationships with the communities and people we purport to serve while fostering more equitable, inclusive, and human relationships.
**Note: Names and identifying details have been changed to preserve anonymity. Stories used with permission.**
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.