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The Rockefeller Foundation

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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.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Won
prize:
$150,000

This challenge is closed

Overview

Challenge 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
Updates17

Challenge Updates

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.


Forum3
Community238
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge is open to non-profit grantees of the Rockefeller Foundation.

If you or your organization do not fall into this category, you are not eligible to submit to the challenge.

If you or your organization do fall into this category, you would have received your entry code via email directly from the Rockefeller Foundation. If you did not, please contact us at .

To learn about the grants offered by the Rockefeller Foundation, please visit our Grants page: http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/grants

Yes.

However, that does not mean that you cannot create your submission in another language and then have it translated to English. There are numerous translators available through sites like fiverr.com - simply do a search for the originating language and "English".

Or you could try processing your submission through Google Translate and then tinker with any words that were unable to be translated.

Yes. But no more than one for each of the two grants being made available through the Rockefeller Foundation Storytelling Challenge.

Yes. You can submit material regarding the initiative for which you received a Rockefeller Foundation grant or you can submit material that is relevant to the theme of impact but comes from an initiative other than one for which you received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Grant #1 Submission category is for story products that have already been created and for which you can show measurable impact.

The Grant #2 Submission category is for story product that have not yet been created OR that have been created but no measurement of impact has yet occurred.

A story is a journey, conveyed through any combination of our five senses, that causes an audience of 1 or more to consciously or subconsciously generate a concept in their mind and react to it.

Nike's "Just do it" slogan tells a story and it's only 3 words. While on the other end of the spectrum, Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is also a story and it's 530,982 words.

A song tells a story. A stand-up comedy routine tells a story. Satire - like a fake Onion news article - tells 2 stories simultaneously, the one on the page and the one between the lines, speaking in rhetoric. A piece of art, a sculpture, or a dance also tells a story.

Some stories - like novels, songs, TV and movies - are plotted out precisely. While other stories - like paintings and photographs - can be more abstract and rely on the audience to generate more of the narrative.

The primary goal of all storytelling is to cause a reaction in the audience. The best stories will always cause an audience to react in the way you intended and the poorest stories will cause an audience to change the channel.

A suggestion: you've got 3 months until submissions are due. If you're creating a story product from scratch, plot out your stages - X weeks for concept/development, Y weeks for production, Z weeks for delivery.

And do not be afraid of asking for feedback from outside your organization. Most organizations are made up of numerous stories.

One strategy for gauging which of your stories would be a good one is to ask 10 or 20 people with different tastes what they think the story of your organization or project is. One of the responses you receive will be the best response. It will speak to you the most out of all of them in your sampling. And that's likely to be a good story for you to tell.

If you feel restricted by the maximum page count of the PDF part of the submission, you will need to apply the thing that many storytellers loathe - editing. You will need to condense what you've written to its clearest and most efficient language.
 
On editing - often, a storyteller will become emotionally attached to their story and will cherish all its aspects as if they were the storyteller's own offspring. There is a saying in storytelling: "kill your children". This metaphor points to the story elements that the storyteller most cherishes being the elements that should be omitted from the story. It's not 100% accurate all of the time but it does empower the storyteller to put the whole of their content on the table to be judged with an editorial eye.

Short answer: Yes, but your submission would only be eligible for Prize #2, which focuses on a story's projected impact rather than an impact that has already occurred and can be measured.

Longer answer: Your story can be delivered in the format of your choice. Whatever story you submit should be able to stand on its own in the format in which you've delivered it.

Whether or not it can be adapted into a different storytelling format in the future is very relevant to the PDF submission document outlining the projected impact of the story, but is not relevant to the story itself.

We suggest using the format that you think best tells your story given the resources that are available to you.

Yes. The challenge is global and open to Rockefeller Foundation non-profit grantees with 501(c)(3) status in the United States and all global equivalents. ​If you received an invitation email and access code from the Rockefeller Foundation, you are eligible to submit to the challenge.

 

No minimum or maximum running times have been assigned. It can be as short as it needs to be or as long as it needs to be in order for you to communicate your story of impact.

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: In some cases, you are permitted to use other peoples' intellectual property if it falls within the conditions of Fair Use. You can read more about Fair Use here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

If you're not certain if your use of someone else's intellectual property is in fact Fair Use, you may want to confirm it with an intellectual property lawyer.

One of the purposes of the RFSC is to generate content that can inspire others. If you do not fully control the rights to use the content in your submission, the IP owner or licensor who does control those rights can prevent the use of your submission. And then no one can be inspired by it because you will be prevented from sharing it.

If you want to include music in your video's soundtrack, there are numerous stock music libraries on the Internet where music can be licensed, usually for $30-100 per license. To license popular music, you would need to contact the publishing company of the specific piece of music to find out who the licensing agent is for that piece of music and it will generally cost thousands of dollars and go through a licensing process that is longer than the term of the RFSC.

Some other options:

If you're interested in using classical music, there are many public domain selections on https://musopen.org/. Public domain content has no copyright assigned to it and can be used by anyone free of charge.

You might also want to explore http://SoundCloud.com, a site where independent musicians upload their own music for sharing and purchase. Find a piece of music you like, contact the artist directly, explain how you’d like to use their song and ask them for permission.  Quite often they will license their works free of charge if your use of their music appeals to them.

Grantees cannot enter as a team. If multiple grantees worked on a similar project with RF funding and they all want to enter the same story from that grant, then they can but if selected only one would win. Also, each grantee would need to submit independent accompanying narratives about how this story was impactful (or will be impactful) for THEIR organization—so not the “consortium” as a whole. If multiple grantees entered the exact same story, the judging decision would likely fall to these accompanying materials.

If one grantee wanted to submit the story on behalf of themselves and others, then that would be fine. However, if that grantee wins then RF would give the grant funding to their organization only—it would be up to the winning organization to determine how/if to distribute the grant funding to the others. RF is giving away two grants, but once the grantee has the money for general operating support they can obviously use it how they would like.