Story of Us and Now

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Definition:

A story of the community you’re forming together, and a story of the action you are asking others to join you in taking now

Key Principles

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  • We use Story of Us and Now all the time. After sharing our Story of Self, we then tell the Story of Us and Now to connect to the broader community. We share our stories during one-to-one meetings, Council meetings, rallies, and more. By sharing our Story of Us and Now, we can more effectively recruit MoveOn members to join a Council or join the Core group, and take action!
  • As leaders, we employ both the head and the heart to mobilize others to join our Councils and campaigns. We use stories to engage the heart, and we use strategy to engage the head.
  • We need both the head and the heart to win campaigns. If don't win the hearts of our audience, the best laid plans won't have the boots on the ground to carry it out. And if we don't have a solid strategy, we'll have a community of people with no action to take.
  • There are three types of stories:
  • story
    • Self: Invite others to be in relationship with you.
    • Us: Invite others to join your community.
    • Now: Invites others to take action.
  • Because stories allow us to express our values as lived experience, they have the power to motivate others to join us.
  • Stories of Us and Now will also have a clear challenge, choice, and outcome:
    • Challenge: What urgent challenges does your community—the "us"—face right now? Make the challenges real with specific stories, images, and details—not statistics or generalizations. Why haven’t these challenges been resolved yet? Is there anyone who has a stake in keeping things the way they are? How can you articulate to the audience the commonalities that bind you?
    • Choice: What's the strategic choice you're asking others to make right now, this minute, to join you in action? This specific choice should be informed by the goal, the strategy and tactics you develop in your strategy.
    • Hopeful Outcome: What's your vivid, detailed image of the change you could create in your community if you take action together now? What makes that hope plausible? Perhaps stories of people organizing to take action together elsewhere? Or hopeful outcomes you've already achieved together as a community in the past?
  • The best stories show—they don’t tell. Paint a picture in the minds of your audience by using vivid details. What were you wearing? Where there smells? Where were you and what did it look like?
  • Keep it brief—your Story of Us and Now should be no longer than three minutes.
  • Keep practicing your story. Developing a strong Story of Us and Now takes time. Practice, practice, practice—and get feedback from other Council members, friends, and family.

How to

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  • Spend 10 minutes brainstorming different parts of the story.

  • Now write out the story. Ask yourself:
    • What is the challenge that your community (the "us") faces right now?
    • What's the strategic choice you're asking others to make right now?
    • What's your vivid, detailed image of the hopeful outcome?
  • Share the story with a friend, colleague, family member—anyone! Get feedback on your story.
  • Refine your story and start using it!

Take-Aways

 

  • 1. The Story of Us and Now needs a clear challenge, choice, and hopeful outcome.

 

  • 2. Just like a Story of Self, the Story of Us and Now can and will change as the campaign and moment changes.

 

  • 3. The best stories show—don’t tell. They are also brief and no longer than 3 minutes.