Liz Bloomfield, the Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, a nonprofit committed to elevating local solutions to global challenges and amplifying the voices of those driving change at the grassroots level. Her prior employment in the British Army and the business world prepared her for the work she is currently engaged in as she focuses on “making the world a better place” through humanitarian endeavors.
Ripple Effect Images uses top-notch visual storytelling to highlight successful initiatives and magnify the effect of tried-and-true strategies for empowering women and girls. One way to initiate a significant chain reaction for good change is through storytelling.
During her interview with Alicia Butler Pierre on business infrastructure podcast, Liz explained the how to maximize social impact through storytelling. She described the organizational framework used to support her business and discusses how storytelling acts as a catalyst for saving lives.
Importance of Storytelling
Storytelling is the glue that holds together all of those different elements of business processes and being able to grow an organization because whatever it is that you are going to do to, in order to scale your operation, you need to be able to communicate that effectively. And storytelling is the way in which you are equipped to be able to do that.”
According to National Geographic, storytelling is universal to the human experience. They define it as the use of visual, literary, auditory, or other creative media to educate, inform, entertain, or inspire an audience to take action.
In a local Guatemalan community, the leading cause of death for mothers and young children under the age of five is indoor smoke from heating and cooking fires. What then should we do about that? Ripple Effect Images comes into play by leveraging their ecosystem of filmmakers, editors, photographers, donors, and fundraisers to improve the lives in the community.
Smooth Operator Masterclass
StoveTeam International together with its Guatemalan partners, had a true understanding of the life-changing potential of giving women a healthy means of cooking. They actually did and they figured it out. Just like with every story that Ripple covered; they begin with a solution. They always started with what’s already functioning, which in this case was a stove that could be produced quickly and cheaply, provided to people in those areas and regions, and then used as a base to expand from. In a very short period of time, they distributed close to 8,000 brand-new stoves with the help of a successful storytelling campaign.
The best product or service in the world won’t help anyone if no one knows about it or if there is no means to reach the people who need it most. This is why storytelling is so vital. The magic arises when a story draws a reader in and helps them connect with the message.
What is a Ripple Effect?
A “ripple effect” is a spreading, pervasive, and frequently unforeseen impact or influence. In order to empower women via narrative and address issues like food shortages, climate change, and economic empowerment, it served as the catalyst for the founding of Ripple Effect Images, a nonprofit organization.
The goals of Ripple Effect Images are to communicate the need and provide solutions. Therefore, it’s essential to establish a compelling argument for why the need exists. In order to communicate this requirement in a way that is both scientifically and empirically supported and genuinely human, it is sometimes done via human stories, which involve entering a family’s lives, their house, and observing how they live.
Understanding the Problem
1). Gather qualitative data through conversations with the local community.
2) Define the need.
3). Quantify the need through numerical data.
4) Present why a particular organization is positioned to solve the problem.
By realizing that there is a proven solution to the problem, it is evident that something is operating. There is data that suggests excellent potential for a solution. And whether it’s a nonprofit, a small business, a social venture, or anything else, that’s a significant turning point in so many grassroots level organizations.
When a story grabs someone’s interest and enables them to relate to the message, magic happens. There’s a genuine blending of many outcomes. A few will deal with consciousness. Some will focus on encouraging other stakeholders’ competency in order to expand their impact. Some will involve finances. It was about putting the resources into motion that allowed the local Guatemalan community to increase the size of their production facilities.
A story positioned to cause a ripple effect is one that has the potential to reach and resonate with a broad audience. When people start to spread what they learn and know, there is a ripple effect. The ability to scale up a story is crucial to its success.
Ripple Effect Images has created over 50 films, taken over 45,000 images, and raised around $10M US for social impact organizations worldwide. So how can you leverage storytelling to amplify your message and boost revenue first? Be sure to check out BusinessInfrastructure.TV. You will find some of Liz’s short films and access the resources she recommends there.