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The Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge

A challenge to spur Rockefeller Foundation non-profit grantees to share the impact they have had on individuals, communities and the world. Read Overview...
Total Award Amount
$150,000
Overview

“Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes.” – Plato

The power of storytelling is well documented. Stories connect us in ways other communications simply cannot. The best stories touch us, inspire us, and move us to act.

Maybe it’s a story about a single individual overcoming an obstacle or transforming before our eyes. Maybe it’s an origin story of an idea that went on to change the world. Or maybe it’s a story still unfinished that poses more questions than answers.

Stories take different forms – and they’re shared in different ways. But all stories reveal universal truths, and deepen our understanding of the world around us.

As a Rockefeller Foundation grantee, you have incredible stories inside your organization. Stories of how you have impacted the world, empowered others to make change, or learned from well-made mistakes. Stories that could help generate awareness, explain complex issues, demonstrate valuable models for change, or inspire others to join your cause.

Through the Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge, The Rockefeller Foundation is inviting selected former and current grantee organizations to submit your best stories. They can be told through any platform - written, audio and/or visual, multimedia…even interpretative dance!

You can submit existing stories or develop new stories that you have been meaning to tell. For inspiration, check out The Rockefeller Foundation’s suite of storytelling resources at hatchforgood.org.

The challenge launches on February 17, 2015 and closes on May 27, 2015, at 5pm PDT.

Two $50,000 (USD) grants, for operating support, will be awarded on July 7, 2015.

 

The Challenge

Stories connect us in ways other communications simply cannot. The best stories touch us, inspire us, and move us to act. The Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge is an opportunity to share your best stories and to tell us how they encouraged people to take action. They can be told through any platform - written, audio and/or visual, multimedia…even interpretative dance! The Challenge invites select current and former Foundation grantee organizations to participate.

The challenge will award 2 grants for $50,000 (USD) each:

  • The first award asks you to look back on how your organization created impact with a story. How did you do it? What did you do? What impact did you create for your organization?
  • The second award asks you to look forward on how you will create impact with a story. How will you do it? What will you do? What impact do you anticipate will be created?

 

Eligibility Requirements

The Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge will award two $50,000 (USD) grants for operating support. The Challenge invites current and former foundation grantee organizations that are qualified under U.S. law to receive and comply with the terms of a general support grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to submit your best stories. These grantees will receive an email on February 17, 2015 with the code to register for the challenge. If you are a grantee and you have lost access to this email, please contact .

  • Eligible organizations can submit entries for both awards.
  • Organizations are eligible to win both awards.
  • Only 1 submission per award is allowed.
  • If submitting the same story for both awards, the intended impact for award #2 must be different/unique than how the story was utilized previously.

 

Schedule

Date Challenge Phase
February 17, 2015

Challenge launches

Registration opens

May 27, 2015* Challenge submissions close (5pm PDT)
July 7, 2015 Awards announced

*Deadline extended from May 18, 2015.

Submission requirements

The Rockefeller Storytelling Challenge will award up to two $50,000 (USD) grants for operating support. Eligible organizations can submit entries for both grants and organizations are eligible for both grants. Only 1 submission per grant is allowed. If submitting the same story for both grant #1 and grant #2, the intended impact for grant #2 must be different/unique than how the story was utilized previously.

Each submission will be judged out of a total of 100 points:

  • 50 points for the story
  • 50 points for the impact

Grant #1 Submission must include:

Part 1: The story
  • A video, speech, brochure, campaign, article, music, etc.
  • Any uploaded materials must be submitted via a link only.
Part 2: The impact
  • A narrative describing the impact the story has created for your organization.
  • A brief organizational background.
  • This part may not exceed 3 PDF pages, formatted with 1” margins and Times New Roman, 12pt font.

 

Grant #2 Submission must include:

Part 1: The story
  • A video, speech, brochure, campaign, article, music, etc.
  • Any uploaded materials must be submitted via a link only.
Part 2: The impact
  • A narrative describing the impact the story will create for your organization
  • A brief organizational background
  • This part may not exceed 3 PDF pages, formatted with 1” margins and Times New Roman, 12pt font. 

 

Judging

Judges

The Judging Panel will include highly qualified and impartial judges. All members of the Judging Panel will be required to adhere to non-disclosure agreements as required and statements acknowledging that they make no claim to the Intellectual Property developed by competitors.

The Rockefeller Foundation will, in its sole discretion, make the final decision regarding the awarding of the two grants. Prior to making each grant, The Rockefeller Foundation will complete a due diligence process to confirm that the potential grantee is qualified under U.S. law to receive and comply with the terms of a general support grant from The Rockefeller Foundation.

 

Judging Criteria

Each submission will be judged out of a total of 100 points:

  • 50 points for the story
  • 50 points for the impact

 

Grant #1 Judging Criteria:

Part 1: The Story – 50 points

Criteria Description Score
Well-crafted story

high-quality story with

  • clear goals and objectives
  • an audience in mind
  • a point of view
  • a beginning, middle, and end
20 points
Engaging, compelling were you touched, moved, or inspired by the story 20 points
Call to action did you, as a judge, clearly understand what you were supposed to do? Was the call to action clear? 10 points

Part 2: The Impact – 50 points

Criteria Description Score
Overall impact on the mission of your organization How did this project impact the mission of your organization, positively or negatively? 20 points
Results What did you achieve? What was the impact of telling this story? Who did you reach? Who did you need to reach? 20 points
Goals and Strategy(ies) How did the goals of the story align with the story you are telling? How did the strategy support you in meeting your goals? What tools and resources did you use to meet your goals? 10 points

 

Grant #2 Judging Criteria:

Part 1: The Story – 50 points

Criteria Description Score
Well-crafted story

high-quality story with

  • clear goals and objectives
  • an audience in mind
  • a point of view
  • a beginning, middle, and end
20 points
Engaging, compelling were you touched, moved, or inspired by the story 20 points
Call to action did you, as a judge, clearly understand what you were supposed to do? Was the call to action clear? 10 points

Part 2: The Impact – 50 points*

Criteria Description Score
Plan and goal(s) of plan How will you amplify your story? Who will you reach? Who do you need to reach? What impact will amplifying your story have on your mission? 25 points
Measurable criteria How will you measure your story’s reach? (e.g., number of views, dollars raised, new members) 15 points
Overall impact on the mission of organization If you achieve the criteria set forth in your plan, what impact will they have on organizational goals? 10 points

* if using the same story as submitted in Grant #1, the intended impact must be different/unique than how the story was utilized previously. 

 

Challenge Details

Rules

Challenge rules and dates are subject to change. All registered teams and individuals will be informed of any rule changes and any changes will be posted on the Challenge page.

Only 1 submission per grant is permitted.

All submissions must be received on May 27, 2015, by 5pm PST.

Timeline
Updates (17)

A Breakthrough in Storytelling

July 8, 2015, 10:29 a.m. PDT by Simon Fraser

The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to announce the winners of The Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge - herox.com/RFSC.

 

After 4 weeks of judging, it was decided that, due to the quality of the highest scored submissions to the Projected Impact category (Grant #2), an additional $50,000 grant would be awarded. As a result, there are three recipients in the Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge.

 

The first grant of $50,000 for stories with measurable impact went to Global Minimum Inc. for their video “15-Yr-Old Kelvin Doe Wows M.I.T.”, distributed through the THNKR YouTube channel. The video capture Kelvin’s transformation from a self-­taught engineer in Sierra Leone to becoming the youngest visiting practitioner at MIT. The video currently has 8.8 million views and enabled GMI to crowdfund $140,000.

 

Global Minimum Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable international organization that encourages young innovators and leaders in Africa to engage with critical thinking skills and hands-on learning programs to tackle challenges affecting their communities.

 

The second grant category, also for $50,000, features stories with projected impact. The judges were so impressed with the top 2 submissions that The Rockefeller Foundation decided to award a second $50,000 grant in that category.

 

Ashoka’s submission, “Everyone a Changemaker: The Story of Pinelands North”, tells the story of a changemaker school in South Africa. Ashoka is a citizen sector organization that supports over 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs across 70 countries. 

 

Through the Changemaker Schools initiative, Ashoka will identify, celebrate and link schools that are redefining success beyond getting good grades. This video will be instrumental in that effort. 

 

“We Have a Life in Kibera”, a film by Kounkuey Design Initiative and LightBox, seeks to undermine the stigma still given to a large slum in Kenya, which is starting to transform itself through citizen engagement and multiple initiatives, including the Kibera Public Space Project.

 

KDI is a design and community development organization that partners with communities living in extreme poverty to physically transform degraded environments, grow economic resilience, and build social cohesion. This video is the first in a series of content being developed to bring light to Kibera’s transformation.

 

By the close of the challenge, the RFSC had received 200 entries from 168 innovators. Submissions spanned a wide variety of formats from news and magazine articles to documentaries and video blogs to web applications and pamphlets. 

 

The Rockefeller Foundation was delighted to see a high volume of challenge participants utilizing its Hatch For Good platform. Hatch is an online suite of toolkits where storytellers can find what they need to develop their stories and ensure that they have a significant reach and impact.

 

The Rockefeller Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the innovators who entered the challenge. While only three innovators were awarded the prizes in this challenge, there were so many other insightful solutions that we are confident that many of the innovators in this challenge will do great things in the future. Thank you for helping make this challenge a success.


Crowdsourcing Stories

May 21, 2015, 3:49 p.m. PDT by Simon Fraser

Here are two TEDtalks in which documentary filmmakers demonstrate the role of crowdsourcing in the storytelling process.

Filmmaker Deborah Scranton directed the documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq.

And Jehane Noujaim unveils her 2006 TED Prize wish: to bring the world together for one day a year through the power of film.

 


Deadline Extended & How To Enter

May 18, 2015, 1:35 p.m. PDT by Simon Fraser

The deadline for the Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge has been extended to Wednesday, May 27th, 2015, at 5pm PDT.

You have until that time to register and submit your entry.

To register for the challenge, you must first have created a HeroX account. If you have not already done so, click JOIN US in the top right corner of any page of this website.

Once you've completed the account creation process and activated your account, go to our challenge page - http://herox.com/RFSC - and click REGISTER NOW in the right-hand column.

This How-To video will show you how to submit an entry to a challenge. The RFSC includes 2 additional steps - the pass code entry and the selection of the grant to which you are submitting.

 


Hatch For Good - Evaluation

May 18, 2015, 7:08 a.m. PDT by Simon Fraser

In the fifth and final module, Evaluation, users are asked to consider the metrics they use to measure the success of their storytelling campaigns. Broken down into two sections, the module leads users through the process of setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for their stories, shows them how to track metrics over time, and offers tools for measuring the reach and engagement rate of their stories on social media.

In Section One: Setting KPIs for Social Impact, the purpose and benefits of metrics are spelled out, as are their relation to the goals of the campaign. Users are then asked to consider what goal they hope to achieve with their story (i.e. change attitudes, attract funders, motivate people to action, etc.) From this, they are tasked with creating a KPI statement and given multiple exemplars of what such a statement should look like, depending on their goal.  

With that task complete, Section Two: How to Generate an Analytics Report moves on to how users intend to track and measure these actions across their selected platforms. This is especially important seeing as how different forms of social media present different means of measuring audience engagement rates.

To address this, users are asked to list which social media tools their organization uses, and offers a series of platform guides to help them understand how they might track audience involvement and responses on each. Beyond that, they are also asked to select which metrics they hope to rely on, and set finite goals for the performance of their strategic story.

From all this, those who use the Hatch For Good suite are given recommendations based on their replies, and will be well on their way to drafting an effective and engaging strategic story.


Hatch For Good - Platform

May 15, 2015, 8:57 a.m. PDT by Simon Fraser

The fourth toolkit, known as the Platform module, addresses the task of creating and growing a community with which to share story ideas. Such a community is of course one that shares the interest of the storyteller, and is genuinely committed to being involved. Knowing how to harness it and nurture it are therefore intrinsic to any successful strategic storytelling campaign.

Broken down into two sections, the module first addresses finding the right places and platforms to establish a connection with audiences, and how stories can help audiences connect with the user’s organization and others who care about the particular mission.

Section One: Selecting Your Platforms, users are asked to consider which platforms they intend to use based on which ones are likely to make the biggest impact. For this, a number of things need to be considered, such as the objective the user is hoping to achieve, the age of the audience, where they live, and what tools will be employed to reach them (i.e. video, photography, copy, etc.)

In Section Two: Engaging Your Community, the focus shifts to social networks and the role they play in modern storytelling. It also acknowledges that though an organization may be using multiple social platforms, their audience may prefer communicating and sharing on one in particular. Such a process is organic and natural, and knowing which is preferred is key.

As such, users are asked to take a look at the way they communicate via social media, what tone they set in their communications, what tone they hope to adopt for the sake of their story (urgent, compassionate, uplifting, dour, etc.) and how they will go about dealing with responses – be they positive or negative.

All of this sets the user up to enter into the fifth and final step in the storytelling suite - Evaluation.


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