Visual Storytelling Partnership

Build Your Nonprofit’s Capacity to Shoot, Store, and Circulate Photos and Videos

Does your nonprofit organization want to improve its ability to use photographs and video to tell its important stories? If so, consider applying for a free professional development partnership offered by Stories at Work, an ongoing research project directed by Dr. Lisa Dush of DePaul University. The partnership will run from late September–November 2013. We welcome applications from any Chicago-area nonprofit.

Accepted organizations may assign one or two staff members to the project; each should be familiar with their organization’s communication and marketing efforts. Organizational participants will work with a small team of graduate students from Professor Dush’s Multimedia Content Strategy course to develop a visual storytelling strategy and take the first steps toward designing sustainable media collection, storage, and circulation practices. Participating organizations are also invited to participate in a research study that explores how nonprofits can use photographs and video in the digital age.

What Do Participating Organizations Get?

  • Time and coaching to help develop a visual storytelling strategy appropriate to your organization’s staff, key audiences, current practice, and budget
  • Two free hands-on workshops on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus: 1) Organizational Photography and Videography, 10/19 (Sa), 10 am-1 pm: Learn the basics of creating quality organizational photographs and video with a range of affordable cameras and lenses; discuss and try a range of photography and video cataloguing and editing software. 2) Circulating Photographs and Video Using Social Media, 11/7 (Th), 6-8:00 pm: Learn how nonprofit organizations use a range of social media platforms to circulate photographs and video; discuss best practices for posting, responding, and measuring effects; draft an editorial calendar.
  • Access to DePaul’s cameras and accessories for checkout during and after the course
  • 20 hours of follow-up implementation support from a DePaul graduate student in winter of 2014 (pending final budget approval from DePaul)
  • Two books: Content Marketing for Nonprofits, by Kivi Leroux Miller, and Thousands of Images: Now What? by Mike Hagen
  • The opportunity to network with staff from other participating organizations (we expect to partner with 3-4 organizations)

What Is the Time/Resource Commitment for Participating Organizations?

Participating staff members should plan to devote 1-3 hours per week to the project, from late September–November 2013. We also ask that staff and stakeholders key to your organization’s media strategy participate in a 1-1.5 hr. meeting/activity at your office in late September/early October.

The total time commitment for participating organizations is as follows:

  •  F Sept. 6, 11:59 pm, Application due
  • Th Sept. 26, 6-8 pm, Optional, 2 hrs: Participants are welcome to join the class in our Lincoln Park classroom as we discuss Miller’s book and how to do a content audit
  • F Sept. 27-W Oct. 2, Required, 1.5 hrs: Host the DePaul graduate-student team (approx. 3 students + Dr. Dush) at your organization, for a meeting with key staff and stakeholders to discuss your organization’s current strategy and practice, and, if interested, to participate in a facilitated exercise to clarify your organization’s message architecture.
  • F Oct. 11-W Oct. 23, Required, 2-4 hrs: Meet with student team at your organization. Show the team the hardware, software, and practices that you use to shoot, edit, store, and distribute photos and video.
  • Sa Oct. 19, 10 am-1pm, Required: Attend workshop, Organizational Photography and Videography, on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus
  • F Nov. 1-W Nov. 20, Required, 4 hrs: Answer questions and contribute ideas as the DePaul team drafts a comprehensive report, which includes a visual media content audit, competitor/peer analysis, recommendations, and an editorial calendar. Read a full draft of the report and provide oral or written feedback to team.
  • Th Nov. 7, 6-8 pm, Required: Attend workshop, Circulating Photographs and Video Using Social Media, on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus
  • Winter 2014, date TBA, Optional, 1 hr: Participate in a follow-up interview

Any accepted organization may also choose to participate – or not to participate – in the project’s associated research study. This decision will not affect your ability to continue in the partnership. If your organization does participate, Dr. Dush will collect the following data: audio recordings of or fieldnotes on visits to your organization; a copy of your feedback on the team’s report; samples of your organization’s visual media; and an audio recording of a 1-hour interview with participating staff members at the end of the project. Accepted organizations will receive additional information about the research project.

How Do We Apply?

Please submit an application form by 11:59 pm on F 9/6. Acceptance decisions will be communicated by 6 pm on Tu 9/10. If you have any questions about the project, contact Professor Lisa Dush at ldush [at] depaul [dot] edu. Additional details about the Stories at Work project are available online at