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Story Based Strategies to Win Campaigns


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Every organizing campaign has the battle of the story at its core. Using the Center for Story Based Strategy's (formerly Smart Meme) framing this presentation shows how we have used story based strategies to win campaigns using the example of the Invest in People, Not Prisons campaign where our organizing efforts moved more than $5.2 Million dollars away from a jail expansion in Contra Costa County into investments in job training, services, and housing for formerly incarcerated people.

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Story Based Strategies to Win Campaigns

  1. 1. Story Based Strategy to Win Campaigns
  2. 2. From Framing to Curation - Integrated Communications Strategy to Win Campaigns •Storytelling/ Framing - The Battle of the Story! •Editorial Calendar ! •Media Relations! •Social Media Channels ! •Email Platform/ List Building ! •Website - Social and Regularly Updated ! •Curation for Reporters and Funders
  3. 3. Humans are the Narrative Animal The currency of narrative is not truth, it is meaning
  5. 5. Narrative Power Analysis   Changing the Stories: not what people don t know, but what they do know =FILTERS   Examining Dominant Stories: “the status quo”   Stories can Normalize Power/Universalize Experience •  Power shapes Point of View of the story
  6. 6. Meme A unit of self replicating cultural information " " Contagious ideas, stories, images, and rituals that spread from imagination to imagination, generation to generation, shaping and shifting human cultures… a capsule for a story to spread…
  7. 7. Frame The larger story that shapes understanding of information, experiences, and messages; the structure and boundaries of a narrative that defines point-of-view and power. Frames operate as pre-existing narrative lenses in our minds.
  8. 8. Looting Finding
  9. 9. Elements of Story   Conflict   Characters   Imagery/Show Don t Tell   Foreshadowing   Underlying Assumptions
  10. 10. Winning the Battle of the Story   Frames the Conflict Draws our attention to particular details of the story and avoids others outside the frame   Amplifies the Voices of Impacted Characters " Stories speak to us through relevant Spokespeople   Imagery/Show Don t Tell -- Engage Peoples Values A good story emphasizes values and imagery over data   Foreshadowing --Shows the Future/Offer Vision People will only go someplace that they have first " been to in their minds   Challenges Assumptions Makes the invisible visible Changes the Story
  11. 11. Invest in People, Not Prisons
  12. 12. How the Campaign Developed • Developed Messaging with Leaders ! • Went from talking about ‘realignment’ to Invest in People, Not Prisons! • Capture the agitation - Prayer, Clergy, Photos that speak Emotion! • Capture compelling images - record audio - take key quotes, edit photos with Camera + - post on Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram - tag leaders - Share! • Curate Campaign Media and Social media messages on and Pinterest! • Keep developing messaging and allow it to change - Invest in Playgrounds, Not Prisons
  13. 13. Connecting issues and connecting communities
  14. 14. "My name is Martin Gonzales, and I'm part of St. Marks Church and also a part of CCISCO. I wanted to say thank you for supporting my community. The first time we came to one of these meetings I almost lost my kid (unborn child) and I'm still here trying to support my community. And I won't support another jail because I don't think my baby needs another jail. He needs programs and playgrounds, and I will support playgrounds for free if they want me to build them I will do it. I will support anything that makes my kid a healthy and better person, thank you."
  15. 15. CCISCO and the Safe Return Project Organizing efforts lead toward the stoppage of the jail ! expansion and a $5.2 Million dollars investment in people coming home ! in Contra Costa County
  16. 16. Safe Return Project members present their work and organizing efforts! at the New Organizing Institute Roots Camp Conference ! in Washington D.C.
  17. 17. CCISCO and the Safe Return Project Win the City of Richmond’s Martin Luther King Award for Community Service for the Invest in People, Not Prisons Campaign
  18. 18. Extending the story ! based campaign to other ! campaign areas …
  19. 19. You can find stories in campaigns anywhere you just ! have to be creative! and pay attention to the details… ! here’s one example
  20. 20. “Getting ready to get out the vote from Richmond Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church”
  21. 21. “Neighborhood Strategizing with Melahia and Pat Douglas”
  22. 22. “These were our friendly guides to one Richmond neighborhood”
  23. 23. “Sometimes you have to do a bit ! more than knock on doors,! time to fix the chain ! while we work at fixing these! broken political systems!”
  24. 24. 'Oh I know these guys I will take you there’
  25. 25. Story Based Campaigns from Conception to Web • Develop Framing with leaders using story based campaign template good examples: Let My People Vote, Invest in People Not Prisons! • Design Campaign Flyers, Social Media Photo based messaging, solidify campaign strategy, timeline campaign with editorial calendar ! • Develop short talking points - Do media/ spokesperson training with core team of leaders who will be speaking to the media! • Send press releases, call and tweet reporters and editorial desks ! • Action: capture photos that tell the story of the action, record audio (and video if you have enough people)! • Post best photos with quotes from leaders on social media channels, then curate your posts based on your campaign for reporters and funders