From Networked Advocacy
What's the "common story"?
Networks are connected by shared unifying values, interests, motivations and language. In a sense, the common story is "what brings people to the table". Network members must understand where the “breaking points” lie: what is absolutely “in” or “out”.
A shared sense of mission is a critical component of effective networks. What brings actors "to the table"? Tell us how you find and build the 'common story' of your network...
Building your common story: what you can do
- Verbalize and vocalize the common story - for example, begin meetings with a statement of the network vision.
- Share and spread the story through network materials and events, for example branding on newsletter or email signatures.
- Organize activities to reinforce the story: volunteer activities, movie screenings, awards ceremonies, etc. These events can also build community between network members.
- Share stories and experiences, for example why members joined the cause. This will also help build social ties.
- Provide peripheral but critical services and support to the community: affinity group meetings for communications staff, young professionals, etc.
- Create social groups or 'alumni networks' for members.
- Share like-minded materials through online feeds, video, photos and tags.
- Collective priority-setting, through face-to-face or online tools.
- WHAT ELSE? Please add your suggestions to this list - we're trying to create the most thorough and useful resource
Evaluating your network's common story: what to explore and ask
- Do network members have and understand a common story? What is it?
- Is the story reinforced through network language and materials?
- What events or activities reinforce the common story of the network?
- Where does the network find "likely allies"? Are they religious groups, mothers, students, etc.? What activities or beliefs go hand in hand with the common narrative?
- Conversely, where would the network find "likely foes"? What activities or beliefs are clearly against the common story?
- WHAT ELSE? Please add your suggestions to this list - we're trying to create the most thorough and useful resource possible!
- Evaluation tools
Examples of networks with strong common stories
“Marry a partner who speaks a different language than you" to avoid inbreeding depression and also to bring vigor to the gene pool of the Tribe. The underlying value here is the survival of the Tribe”. - Katsi Cooke: Running Strong for Native American Youth
Photo credit: Crowd photo: adlaw: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adlaw/88182813/