It is convenient to believe that the money our cause raises, the facilities we build, the programs we nurture, and the brand we build are the core of our cause’s work. However, none of these elements can tell our story. They are the results of our work. The people who inhabit these space, donate resources, attend the programs, and ride for the brand are the story-tellers. They represent the conduit through which our narrative transfers from one individual to the next.
The bib I wore during a nordic ski race and the medal that might come with an age-group award are just ordiments. They alone do not have much depth, possibly props in my story. I can hold them-up to talk about the fierce cold and headwinds that faced the race participants. I can point to them and describe the pack of skiers who worked together to battle the elements. I can hang them on the wall and they remind me of an adventure, but they do not tell the story.
Our travel photos capture a moment in time but are exponentially more powerful when they support the story. Was our Eiffel Tower photo taken during a romantic walk, evening run, from a train crossing the Seine, or just a screenshot? The photo might be memorable but the story provides a greater dimension.
We must get comfortable elevating our stories. Unless we can compete on scale and overwhelm our fans with endless offerings, our narratives will be our strongest point of engagement. If we agree to amplify our stories, then how might we generate human-centered strategies to support our community? How might we be remarkable for the behaviors and experiences we curate?