When I received a call inviting me to speak at the Africa Philanthropy Forum in Lagos, Nigeria, I wondered what my contribution to the forum would be. However after taking part in the forum and speaking on ‘The Role Of The Media In Changing Africa’s Philanthropy Narrative’, I realized that I do have a role to play; and in fact I was already playing such as role.
The African Philanthropy Forum (APF) is a strong and vibrant community of givers who through their strategic investments, partnerships, and influence, foster inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.
The forum this year attracted many delegates from across the world and some of the questions that arose following our panel discussion was how philanthropic organizations could tell their stories, and why the media does not find their issues interesting enough to project.
Whereas the media may have a social responsibility to tell such stories, I believe the philanthropists should also take it upon themselves to tell their own stories, the ‘good story’.
According to the American Press Institute, a good story is about something the audience decides is interesting or important, whereas a great story often does both by using storytelling to make important news interesting.
The ‘good story’ for the purpose of this blog post is a story about individuals or organizations doing good, the impact of their act of kindness, and the story of people who benefit from their acts of kindness. Depending on how well this ‘good story’ is told, often it becomes a great story!
So how can philanthropists and the media tell the ‘good story’?
1. Journalists should be encouraged to find compelling ways of telling stories on philanthropy. Researching into issues allows for good monitoring of the work of philanthropists, as well as creates checks and balances for their work and promotes accountability.
2. Partnering with the media to create awareness is also key to telling the ‘good story’. This should be done through honest means and not abused as a tool to fabricate stories that would just make the individual or organization look good.
3. Partnering with influencers to tell the ‘good story’ has the potential to receive an audience that may naturally not be interested in the issues of philanthropy. Using creative and appealing content in the forms of audiovisuals and text on social media has endless potentials.
4. Tell your own story! If the media does not find your ‘good story’ interesting enough, use modern tools like social media to tell and project your own story. Create your own blogs and share on social media; create your own videos and photos with compelling stories and share on social media.
Don’t worry if your audience or reach on social media is not strong. Adopt strategies that will help you maximize your reach. Tag influencers and media companies with your story, some be re-share your posts and some may even now pay attention to your story when the see it and end up publishing it or doing a follow up.
During the forum I learnt the distinguishing difference between charity and philanthropy. Whereas both refer to doing good, the latter is more strategic and long term.
But whether charity or philanthropy, there is a lot of good being done, or needed to be done. So let’s give more, collaborate more; and tell more of the ‘good story’!
Ameyaw Debrah is a lifestyle blogger and social media influencer from Ghana.