Take the Ethical Storytelling Pledge

Thanks to the digital age, we live in a new era of storytelling and fundraising.

Whether through blogs, emails, social media or video, using story to highlight an organization’s impact is an engaging way to invite people into the good work being done. From the complexities of social issues to the benefits and downsides of nuanced solutions, great stories not only inspire but educate. Yet, all too often, organizations view stories as merely a way to raise funds. This reduces stories to a mere transaction, when they are so much more.

Stories have the power to show someone a mirror-image of their best self. To encourage people to hold on when going through difficult times. And to inspire others to act. Stories change our world.

We are a community of practitioners engaging the messy yet beautiful conversation around storytelling in the social impact space. At Ethical Storytelling, we believe people’s stories are more than emotion-generating machines. That story consumers are more than guzzlers of emotion. And that stories should always be constituent first, donor second. We aspire to tell stories that are truthful, nuanced, educational and empowering. Not just for donors or for branding, but because stories shape our humanity and our world.

This pledge is an aim to focus on the HOW not only the WHAT of the stories we may encounter – but maybe should not always tell – in the work we do.

As storytellers and non-profit practitioners shaping the way the world sees people’s lives:

We pledge to:

  • Tell others’ stories the way we want our story told.
  • Always put people first.
  • Explain to constituents the purpose of the story, where it will be used and answer any questions they might have before photographing, filming or recording.
  • Find an able translator if we speak different languages.
  • Ask the constituent if they wish to be named or identified and act according to their wishes.
  • Use all images and messages with the full understanding, participation and permission of the constituent or the constituent’s legal guardian.
  • Uphold the dignity of our constituents through empowering imagery and messages that motivate engagement and inspire hope.
  • Truthfully represent a situation or story to educate our audiences of the realities, complexities and nuances of the issues we advocate for.
  • Not use images, footage or words that sensationalize or stereotype a person or a situation.
  • Ask for feedback from our constituents and incorporate this feedback into the final story.
  • Abide by international law, standards and protocols related to vulnerable persons, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
  • Listen to our constituents’ voices and respect their decisions, story and journey.
  • Hold a posture of humility and learning, recognizing that failures can be our biggest educators.
  • Seek advice if we question whether a particular story, message or image is not in alignment with ethical storytelling practices.
  • Not tell the story, despite the resources invested, when the story cannot be told with the integrity of this pledge.
  • Take ownership of our responsibility to uphold integrity in our storytelling and messaging.

As a community of nonprofit practitioners and storytellers we commit to learning from the past and integrating a new standard of storytelling as we journey together into the future.

Sign the pledge

I pledge to be a bridge builder, working to tell better stories that respect and honor all people involved.

**your signature**

Share this with your friends:

   


Latest Signatures
668 Mrs Karen B. Mexico Huella Futura
667 Mr Lucas . Brazil Ag3W
666 Mrs Madeline R. United States Fuse Fundraising
665 Mr Dan V. Canada Carleton University
664 Ms Eda O. Canada Carleton University
663 Miss Brooklyn R. Canada Carleton University
662 Ms Gloria U. Canada Carleton University
661 Miss Sofia M. Canada Carleton University
660 Ms Hannah D. Canada Carleton University
659 Ms Amina L. Canada Carleton University
658 Mr Timothy W. canada Carleton University
657 Ms ALEXIS F. Canada Carleton University - Alternative Spring Break
656 Ms Holly K. Canada Carleton University
655 Miss Chiara W. Canada Carleton University
654 Mr Luis R. Chile
653 Ms Kylie L. WA
652 Ms Maureen C. Kenya Amref Health Africa
651 Ms Eve H. United Kingdom University of Manchester
650 Ms Jina I. United states
649 Dr. Carmin H. United States University of Texas at Arlington
648 Ms Lizzy B.
647 Ms Ambrocia R. United States
646 Ms Emely C. United States
645 Ms Arianna P. United States The University of Texas at Arlington
644 Ms Anna M. United States Student (UTA)
643 Mr Nicklaus U. United States
642 Miss Silvia F. United States
641 Ms Myra O. USA Baptist
640 Ms Macarena T. Chile
639 Mr NELSON DANIEL G. Mexico PANORAMA CREATIVE STUDIO
638 Ms Michelle P. United States
637 Ms Georgia H. Canada Canadian Cancer Society
636 Dr. Abla E. Egypt Hope Village Society
635 Miss Maria Juliana J. Colombia NELIS Global
634 Ms Dalaina M. Indonesia Dark Bali
633 Mr Sailesh A. United Kingdom
632 Ms Morgan H. United States The Brand Botanist
631 Ms Elissa Y. United States A Picture's Worth
630 Mr Gabriel S. United States Seventh Direction Films
629 Mrs Heather V. Australia Heydays Creative
628 Mr Reed Y. United States Lifesong for Orphans
627 Ms Oksana M. United States Lifesong for Orphans
626 Ms Jacqueline K. Kenya KMET
625 Mr Mark S. United States Freelance
624 Ms Catherine Minter P. Australia
623 Ms Wendy T. United States
622 Ms Mariana E. United States City Net
621 Ms Jie ae S. South Korea Ewha W. University
620 Mr Miguel A. United States Ballet Folkórico Reflejos del Sol UC Berkeley
619 Ms Adaora S. United States Towards Employment

Join our Ethical Storytelling 101 Workshop to hear from filmmaker Heidi Burkey, The Freedom Story President Rachel Goble & others as they lay a foundation for what it means to tell story ethically in our non-profits.