One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is, “How can we tell stories if client confidentiality is a concern for our organization?” I believe that there are numerous ways to navigate this situation and in today’s “Learn From” interview, we’re going to hear from an organization who has not only navigated issues of confidentiality, they’ve gone on to tell great stories.
Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) is a rape crisis center in Vancouver. They pride themselves on taking a feminist approach to women’s services and looking at violence as a systemic, cultural issue. Last December WAVAW’s year-end campaign included a very moving story from one of their volunteers, who is also a survivor.
Here’s the video version of Melissa’s story, which was featured in this campaign.
Today WAVAW has generously agreed to share a bit about their process and lessons learned from this campaign.
1. Melissa’s story was used as a part of WAVAW’s year-end campaign in 2013. What made you decide to feature her story in the campaign?
At Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre our work is to assist women on their journey from trauma to healing to strength and action. Melissa’s story really embodies that journey.
Melissa spent half of her teen years living in trauma and through her involvement with WAVAW she continued her journey from trauma to recovery. As Melissa shared herself “WAVAW has been monumental in my recovery as a survivor”.
But what’s beautiful and inspiring about Melissa is that when we meet her in the video, she is enacting her strength and action. Melissa made this video to let other women know that they don’t have to suffer alone and that organizations like WAVAW exist to assist women on their journey from trauma to strength. Furthermore to making and executing this video, Melissa also wrote and sang all the lyrics. Talk about action and strength!
We didn’t even have to question whether or not to utilize Melissa’s powerful story of strength, and the professional and beautiful video she made for WAVAW. It truly is a celebration of women’s strength and the work we do at WAVAW. To see Melissa’s story please visit http://www.wavaw.ca/melissasstory
2. What kind of results did you see from Melissa’s story?
We saw a 56% increase from the previous year’s end-campaign, which is a huge jump! We’ve also used the video at the board level and on our social media to bring greater awareness to the work we do at WAVAW.
3. WAVAW deals with women in very vulnerable situations and I imagine that confidentiality and dignity are important considerations in the stories that you share. What tips can you share with other non-profits that might be facing a similar situation with their storytelling?
I think what’s unique about WAVAW is that each WAVAW staff women, from Counsellors to the Volunteer Coordinator, appreciate and value our donors. And as such all WAVAW staff women understand the importance of fundraising; we all know that our doors remain open because of donors. I think this is so important in organizations if you want the Fund Development team to succeed in connecting your work with your donors.
At WAVAW this respect for fundraising is really practiced, for example Front-Line Staff will actually come to the Fund Development team to share potential stories. Once the client has agreed that they want their story to be shared, it will be the Front-Line Staff that will conduct the interview. The Fund Development staff can provide some specifics they require, but since our Front-Line Staff are primarily Counsellors, they already have the skills to ask women questions in an client-centered and ethical way. The Fund Development team will then take the interview content and craft a piece for our donors. It’s really about holding the client at the center; being ethical; transparent; and, collaboration amongst staff.
Thank you so much for allowing us to learn from your work, WAVAW! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today’s blog post. We regularly feature storytelling work that non-profits are doing and I hope that you’ll join us again next week for another interview full of insights.