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Category:Common Story

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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”.

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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.
  • Mentoring.
  • 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:

Articles in category "Common Story"

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