Nothing can hold back people determined to make a difference through the power of story.
The United Way of Greater Portland gets it.
They understand the importance of using great storytelling to perfectly and seamlessly match up with their mission of bringing individuals and organizations together to advance the common good.
They are currently in the stages of wrapping up their year-long story campaign called “Greater Portland is My United Way” that features first-person stories from around the community.
Greater Portland is My United Way
Telling a full and compelling story in as few words as possible is an art form in itself. It’s the kind of deceptively simple illusion that makes the work look effortless, when in fact, a lot of time, effort, and TLC went into it.
Chief storyteller, Suzi Piker and illustrator and storyteller, Jessica Esch have combined their large talents and are as committed to sharing their unique digital stories as they are to making the world a better place.
LIVE UNITED Storytelling Library aka: LUbrary
These stories can be found at the United Way of Greater Portland’s LIVE UNITED storytelling library (LUbrary).
The LUbrary is a resource for the community, funded by the community. It’s a place to create and share stories that bring people together and distill the issues affecting the Portland communities.
Jess and Suzi draw the pictures, set up the cameras, capture the audio, and piece it all together to tell the stories of the communities. Each entry in the LUbrary is a strategy to build a better world.
The 3 Story Components
Each finely crafted tale relies on three key elements of storytelling that Suzi and Jess apply:
1. Short is the sweet spot: Most LUbrary stories range from 1 to 4 minutes yet provide a wealth of compelling information in bite sized pieces of information.
2. Spark conversations: Their stories start conversations and and provide a springboard for others to get involved.
3. Think bigger: The LUbrary is a resource beyond the United Way. “Resources are tight everywhere,” says Suzi. “We craft short stories with minimal branding in hopes others will use them to move their work too.”
Stories Can Do Their Work
Like all good stories, writing them is just the first part. Suzi and Jess know that the work really starts after their videos or illustrations have been brought to life.
More and more of their time is spent trying to figure out how to capture people’s attention so their stories can do their work. They go directly to individuals and organizations instead of waiting for these organizations to come to them.
“If you want people to see your light, you have to show them where the switch is,” says Jess.