July 21, 2010

Digital storytelling from soup to nuts

“Angie,” from Canada’s National Youth In Care Network.

Storytelling can be used to showcase a cause & bring about change

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, change-makers, media organizations, journalists, educators, students. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

Editor’s note: Digital storytelling is an amazing resource for change that’s too seldom used in the nonprofit sector. This lengthy tutorial consists of four parts:


By Denise Atchley
Co-founder, Digital Storytelling Festival

Digital storytelling can be used by nonprofits and cause organizations as a wonderful resource for social change.

While many digital stories are personal narratives used for sharing with friends and family, others can be created to offer insight and knowledge about a cause, a topic or a memorable figure. Communicating a message through story can be a powerful way to educate, encourage thought and initiate change. Digital stories offer people a chance to respond to world events or personal experiences, to process the event, interpret its significance and offer insight about how to bring about change.

A digital story about a cause can compel others to become involved, make a difference, effect change.

Consider a cause you care about or a life-altering experience. Then realize how stories told about this subject may compel others to become involved, make a difference, effect a change. Storytelling can be used as a resource for community and peace-building efforts, personal reflection and affirmation. Stories can be used as an archive or reference for historical events.

You should consider integrating digital storytelling into your organizations’ outreach efforts by self-publishing and distributing stories on your website or by authoring your own DVDs. Include your story in public presentations or speeches and screen it at meetings and gatherings. New media and independent publishing have enabled innovative and effective ways to get your message heard.Please share compelling cause-related stories you’ve come across in the comments below!

Getting started

The Digital Storytelling Initiative from KQED in San Francisco (see the site for workshop schedule) suggests several types of story styles you can use to create your digital story. Your instructor will show examples of each style to familiarize you with its format and be there to provide insight when you begin to conceptualize your project. Continue reading