Need in Deed’s (NID) mission is to prepare youth for civic responsibility and service to others. Working in Philadelphia public, charter and faith-based schools the organization trains and supports teachers as they adopt a teaching and learning strategy known as service-learning.
Because it’s not always easy for donors to visit a local classroom and see NID in action, the organization continually seeks other ways to communicate the power of this civic engagement strategy. Audio portraits provide an opportunity to bring the voices of students to NID’s constituencies while conveying the richness of a process that involves students and teachers as well as community partners and classroom sponsors.
Audio stories convey the dynamic between teacher and student, which epitomizes the impact of NID’s teaching and learning strategy. We look for stories in which the relationship between a student and his or her teacher had developed over time, demonstrating the long-term effects on a student’s self identity achieved through a meaningful, academically rigorous project.
I have produced audio slideshows for the organization’s signature events, such as the annual Teacher Soirée and for fundraising event. Interviews in the field with teachers, students and community partners take advantage of ambient sound collected, for example, at Shout Out, NID’s annual celebration of student achievement. Images, audio and music combine to create a “video” that brings the mission to life at a rate that’s affordable and impactful.
Stories are the hallmark of NID’s work. The organization’s communications take maximum advantage of the power of stories to engage new friends and deepen the relationship with existing donors.
Stories delivered electronically through end-of-the-year fundraising appeals have engaged the donor audience in new ways, as reflected by a 13% increase in electronic contributions and a 15% higher click-through rate to stories on NID’s website.
“Stories do the best job of conveying the essence of what we do: connecting the classroom to the community and creating opportunities for meaningful civic engagement. Barbara’s depth of experience with students and teachers gives her stories a unique perspective into the lives of the people and communities we serve. Her understanding of the power of narrative means she can craft pieces that engage the listener and respect the participant while honoring the work of NID.”
— Kimberly Kirn, Executive Director