As everyone gears up for the 2015 gathering, here are my five reasons why frank matters for social change communicators.
- frank gives us a common definition for the work we do. The guiding principle of frank is that we’re a community that uses communications “to win on the issues we all work to overcome.” frank positions the role of communications within social change and helps all of us become better practitioners of strategies and tools to help achieve success in our respective pursuits.
- frank shines a spotlight on practical knowledge. Before frank, I was in the dark about the amount of research available – some of it taking place within academia – about how social change happens. Now when I talk to clients about why a proposed communications strategy may or may not work, I can point to evidence to help make the case for why that is the best approach.
- frank shows us how to connect to emotions in our work. Like many social change communicators, I believe storytelling has the power to change the world. frank helps us get better at using stories by showing us how to use emotion to appeal to the hearts of our target audiences and get them to take action on the issues we care most about.At the 2014 frank gathering, two presenters–Kristina Robbins and Marjan Safinia from the Department of Expansion, who produce story-driven documentaries for social causes–showed us the difference between the typical nonprofit video approach that is overly reliant on facts and figures and a video that is meant to produce an emotional response from audiences. The video they shared helped a California youth nonprofit to increase its fundraising by 30 percent.
- frank gives us a peek at how technology is changing our field. At frank, we get a chance to see and hear first-hand from changemakers around the country who are developing and deploying new technologies and what these new tools mean for our work.
- frank is all of “us.” Through the Frank Karel Fellows Program, frank is helping build a more diverse and inclusive community of social change communicators. The 2013 Fellows who spoke at frank represent a diversity of gender, race, sexuality and income backgrounds who help ensure the field can effectively devise strategies and campaigns that reflect the experiences and realities of all our communities.