Putting Theory into Practice for Donor-Client Engagements

The cornerstone of my life’s work has been to understand what helps people communicate and collaborate more effectively across human differences. When I first started Philanthropy without Borders, my intention was to was to dismantle the exploitative elements often inherent in donor-client interactions by making the very best research in the social sciences readily applicable […]

What Happens When You Can’t Get Consent to Share Stories

If you have read my last article on “Consent is a Process, Not (Just) a Form,” you’ll know that obtaining informed consent from our clients is an important part of nonprofit storytelling. But if informed consent is just not possible, what do you do? I’m not talking about those circumstances when a client clearly declines […]

3 Steps for Equitable Editing in Storytelling

Ethical storytelling is not just about good stewardship in acquisition (interviewing)—often the biggest blunders occur behind the scenes: in the editorial process. Of all the steps, this stage of the process can truly be ridden with disasters, where a story can be appropriated into something the contributor never intended. Take a look at some examples: […]

10 Tips for Equity in Interviewing

I’ve written a lot about the principles behind ethical storytelling, how empathy differs from sympathy in storytelling, why exploitative storytelling persists, and how the evolving landscape of lexicon and language influence meaning and marginalization. These topics are great for reflection, but in this article I roll up my sleeves to give you some tangible tips […]

Empathy Is Not the Endgame

As a follow up to my foundational article, “What You Thought Was Empathy Was Actually Sympathy,” in this article I dispel some misconceptions about empathy and provide tactical pointers to help nonprofit professionals better embody empathy in their work and avoid the pitfalls of sympathy. Empathy is not about emotion…it’s about understanding Rather than try […]