Nonprofit organizations can tell the best stories. Stories about the impact that a nonprofit has on people’s lives can engage, recruit and solidify donors and members. As ImpactMax writes so beautifully, tying individual stories to overall contextual problems and societal issues can really change policies. Anecdotely, I see a lot of blogs and Flickr photo streams, some YouTube and Vimeo use. Why limit yourself? There are so many other tools and platforms that are exciting, innovative, incredibly engaging, and beautiful. Here are my top digital storytelling platforms and tools for your nonprofit to try out in 2010:
Posterous is a publishing platform whereby you email your posts to your Posterous account, attach video/audio/photos and voila! Published. Use it to quickly and easily upload a thought, photo, tweet, or idea. It’s wicked simple to use, and much less time consuming than a blog. It IS a blog, but more along the lines of a daily journal.
Why It’s Great: Less time commitment than blogging, easy publishing by email. More fun than traditional blogging. All the comment and social features of blogs.
Whrrl has been my favorite “under the radar” platform for at least six months. It is a combination slideshare-photo sharing-storytelling platform. If your organization wants to tell a story via photos, slides, and brief text, this is one of the most visually arresting platforms. Whrrl has recently added an entirely new “geotagging” feature that encourages checkins at different locales and belonging to social groups. Nonprofits could take advantage of this by hosting an event at a locale and asking folks to check in. However, just use it to tell stories. No check-in required!
Why It’s Great: It’s simple to create Whrrl stories, a great platform for storytelling, and has a social features. New geotagging feature (“check-ins”) and tagging with hashtags can potentially be used for fundraising, awareness, etc.
I first read about how a reporter used Whrrl to document homelessness in a tent city, and the story pulled me right in. The reporter is @hardlynormal. Here it is:
If you want to turn the photos into a video, adding words and text, along with a call to action, try Animoto. Incredibly simple to use, Animoto automatically integrates images, video clips, and music into videos. Nonprofit organizations can apply for a free professional account here. View sample videos from causes to see how other nonprofits are using it. I am personally mesmerized by the animoto videos.
Why It’s Great: Simple to create a fabulous video for a blog or website, or produce a DVD for donors using photos or short video clips. Videos are easy to share socially, and embed. I created a short 30-second animoto video for a nonprofit client of mine in about 20 minutes!
Blip.tv is gaining in exposure and use. It bills itself as “the next generation TV network,” and that’s a real possibility. Forget cable access and YouTube; if you want to create a steady stream of stories using video, open a blip.tv channel and start broadcasting. It is designed for developing original web tv shows, and supports Creative Commons licensing.
Why It’s Great: Blip.tv will distribute your videos to all the major video platforms for you. Blip also enables RSS feeds for subscriptions. The video quality is spectacular, and they are building a loyal base of followers who want to see original programming. It’s also incredibly easy to share and embed.
One of my favorite blip.fm videos? How Alon Nir created and developed @thekotel, as presented at the 140 Conference, Tel Aviv. (Click on the icon for a pop-up video.)
If you want to see other great examples of digital storytelling, check out the entries at Tech Soup’s 2009 Digital Storytelling Challenge.
Do you use any of these storytelling platforms or tools? How? What are the other great tools that I missed?