Finding the Right Storytelling Partner

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Being in alignment with your storytelling partner matters. If you’re a culturally-specific organization, sourcing a storyteller who is part of the community you serve is a wonderful way to deepen your story and your connection to community at the same time.

North by Northeast Community Health Center found out what a difference this makes at their first-ever fundraiser, Community Supper. As the only clinic specifically serving the Black and African American communities in the state of Oregon, their entire approach has a level of intentionality and cultural specificity. When they decided to tell the story of a family of sisters served by their clinic as their appeal story, they partnered with local Black filmmaker Sika Stanton, known for her powerful stories about the Black community in Oregon.

The filming had a magic to it. Sika’s sensitivity and connection to the sisters and their story made for a powerfully honest day of capturing stories and an important level of comfort to calm nerves and set everyone at ease. It also resulted in a special appeal video that feels authentic to the experience of being seen at the clinic, which was also felt by the audience as they watched it and contributed to successful fundraising during the appeal.

See the video HERE.

Sika’s connection to North by Northeast didn’t end there. She’s continued to be involved with the clinic—which is in her neighborhood—stopping by to say hello and connecting with North by Northeast via social media, even winning a recent give-away the clinic had to deepen its connection to community. North by Northeast can feel good about spending some of their production budget to support the art and practice of a local Black filmmaker.

By being thoughtful and intentional about who’s telling your story, you don’t miss opportunities to deepen your organization’s connection to the communities you serve and support.

photos by Tom Cook

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