“The social sector is investing in storytelling. But just telling stories is not enough. Many organizations struggle to produce compelling stories that actually move people. Meanwhile, many storytellers wrestle with how best to mobilize audiences who are hungry to act. What if we combined the superpowers of these worlds?”  – The Secret to Better Storytelling for Social Change: Better Partnerships

A powerful example of this is the #WakandaandVote campaign. When Marvel’s Black Panther film released to record-setting audiences, the Electoral Justice Project saw an opportunity. Looking to advance its mission of “building black political power,” the organization launched #WakandaTheVote. The campaign built on the film’s powerful themes of community empowerment and cultural celebration, and provided organizers around the United States with tools to reach potential voters at screenings. The result: events everywhere from Dallas to Durham to register thousands of people to vote.

Inspiring people to take action is not an easy road to go down alone. Partnerships have been a key part of the success of Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice’s impact campaigns by empowering groups to screen the films in their communities and working closely with advocacy organizations in the U.S. Southeast to mobilizing voters and build support for clean energy legislation.

Annie Neimand, Ph.D. is the Director of Research for the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Her job is to understand what behavioral science tells us about how people think and act and work with organizations to craft communication strategies that align with the research. Her expertise helped to guide our team in understanding the complex emotions that move people to act and why partnerships are key.

Our Managing Director of Impact, Samantha Wright teamed up with Annie to write “The Secret to Better Storytelling for Social Change: Better Partnerships” published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Together they share the key steps in creating social change through partnerships by highlighting case studies like Chasing Coral’s #DearLegislator tour.

Read more about the power that partnerships can bring to your campaign, and check out other resources here.

Photo: Caitlin Klieboer