I work with nonprofits, news organizations, funders and community groups to help them better understand the context in which they work, engage in inclusive conversations and communicate their mission and activities.
Whoever you are trying to serve, and whatever you are trying to accomplish, you are working within an ecosystem of information. I draw from a variety of methods to assess the role of information in an organization’s mission, activities and impact.
Media Ecosystem Mapping / Asset Mapping
What role does information play in your activities? What kind of news and information environment do the people you work with navigate? What information assets are already in place to help you achieve your mission?
You don’t have to work in the media to be an integral part of a media ecosystem. Many community organizations are vital sources of news and information for their clients and stakeholders. Anyone who advocates for social change knows how vital trusted, quality information is to the work they do.
News organizations tend to think in terms of their industry competitors, but by better understanding the ecosystem in which they operate and the assets their audiences and communities possess, they can better meet the needs of those they serve.
I draw on a mix of techniques from reporting, social science and organizing, tailoring the mix according to the client’s and the community’s needs.
Theory of Change / Systems Change Analysis
What is the impact of your work? How do you know? Theory of change is an essential practice for organizations to clearly articulate mission, use resources wisely and create a meaningful framework to evaluate impact.
My approach is rooted in both theory and practice. It involves listening carefully to your organization’s stakeholders; using collaborative thinking and inclusive dialogue to surface ideas, aspirations and meaning in your work; and building consensus within your organization around a clear shared understanding of what you do, what you need, who you serve and where you’re heading.
Investing in this kind of strategic thinking pays dividends in every aspect of your work, including fundraising, leadership development and impact.
No one accomplishes anything alone. We are smarter and stronger when we put our heads together. Engagement is a powerful way to tap into the wisdom of a group, be it a group of colleagues or an entire community. Engagement surfaces new ideas and solutions and builds consensus and commitment to carry the work forward.
If you want to move beyond the usual suspects and learn from people directly affected by an issue about what they need, you’ll need a plan to listen and an honest commitment to respond to what you hear. I can help you determine who you need to be in relationship with and help you make connections that set you up for strong, lasting partnerships.
I approach community listening with the skills of a reporter and an organizer, informed by scholarship and best practices emerging in the field. I emphasize in-person engagement through interviews, targeted outreach, focus groups, and facilitated conversations among community stakeholders. These practices offer multiple ways to invite people into the conversation and keep them involved, complementing the digital engagement (through social media, for example) that news organizations are typically more versed in.
My goal is to build relationships with and among people who are not already in relationship with local journalism, or whose relationship with local journalism may be strained, especially communities of color. I take an asset-based approach, meaning I start from the assumption that there are leaders and community assets in place. The listening process involves asking questions that will surface those strengths, build trust, and lay the foundation for powerful, collaborative work.
Program Design and Facilitation
Do you want to bring together many points of view while making sure the conversation is productive? I can help you open the floor to many perspectives while staying focused on your objective.
I’m a trained facilitator with experience guiding conversations with as few as three and as many as 150 people at a time. I’ve used techniques such as World Cafe, Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry to lead inclusive conversations that have resulted in real-world projects and collaborations.
I can help you determine the best format and venue, design the process, guide the discussion and document the insights in ways that maximize outcomes. I can also design and facilitate workshops for your team or your community of interest.
If you’re looking for conventional public relations, I’m not the right person. But if you want to communicate your mission, goals, activities and impacts, I can help you find your story and tell it clearly and effectively.
Translating your work into clear, succinct prose isn’t easy. It helps to have an outside perspective, someone who can lift you out of the weeds. I can craft your internal research or documentation into a public-facing story about your work, be it an annual report or a white paper. I can develop narratives you can adapt for websites, brochures, social media or the platform of your choice.
To inquire about rates, please contact me here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.