Tell it Right: National Research on Messaging in Child Advocacy
"Do the kinds of stories we and the media tell make a difference in how well people are engaged and inspired to take action?"
You bet they do. Those of us who work to improve the lives of children and youth often do incredible work with very few resources. We perservere. We measure, we adapt, we fight the good fight. What we don't always do is tell stories of our work in ways that generate interest, excitement and a sense that progress is possible. Without realizing it, many of us fall into the trap of communicating in a way that actually undermines our messages. With a little help, we can do a better job and create stories that build support for the work that is changing the odds for kids at risk.
In 2009 and 2010, Child Advocacy 360 (a SparkAction content partner) commissioned Douglas Gould & Company and The Topos Partnership to conduct national research on “Solutions Storytelling: Messaging to Mobilize Support for Children's Issues.
Through interviews, focus groups, surveys and "talkback testing"—which involved showing several versions of stories to a group of 8 to 10 participants and monitoring how the various story angles influenced the conversation—researchers were able to identify the elements of stories that are most effective when it comes to engaging and inspiring people to take action.
The video summarizes the research and the main findings, with specific tips for advocates, communications professionals and anyone looking to tell energizing and effective stories. The full research report and more resources are below.
For access to the full 42-page PDF Report on the Research Findings, please visit ChildAdvocacy360.com's report access page.
The Executive Summary and the Strategic Recommendations for Advocates (which is very cool!) are available below as PDF files.