May 02, 2008

Turning a Battleship

Well shut my mouth and call me clammy.

The National Storytelling Network, a membership-based organization dedicated to the promotion of storytelling (primarily oral storytelling), has been in poor fiscal health for some time. The Board finally made some necessary hard decisions and thus the organization now finds itself with no Executive Director and no current plans to get one (until such time as it can afford one).

I've had some issues with the organization, mainly regarding communication.

So to my astonishment, the Board (which is necessarily taking a more active role, since staffing levels have dropped) have set up their own Web site (using Google sites) for the express purpose of communicating with the membership.

(Although NSN has its own web site, I'm guessing that both the site design and its content management system are the wrong tools for this purpose).

Furthermore, the site is interconnected with a Discussion forum, courtesy of Google groups.

This is the first time in my nine years as a member that the Board has taken such proactive steps to communicate with the organization membership on the state of the organization and what the Board is doing... and to invite participation in a discussion in a public forum.

(Okay, I'm biased. I recall that the Board usually wrote some 400 word piece in the magazine every once in a while, about... something. They surveyed the membership once or twice. And they talk at the annual conference).

Whatever the outcome of this experiment in communication (and it will be an experiment: most of the NSN membership shy away from using web tools for communication), I am very glad that the leadership made the move towards public transparency, and open communication, and using the Web to make it happen.

How very twenty first century.

(Now if only my state liaison might do the same).

Link to the NSN Board site:
Link to the NSN Board site discussion forum:

(Coincidentally, I received the word about the new site on the very day that the International Storytelling Center's glossy fundraising brochure for their capital campaign... although the wording in the accompanying letter made implied that it would soon be the go-to organization for storytelling advocacy and networking.)

1 comment:

About Sean Buvala said...

You got to it first. Before I could.

I really really wish change were going to happen. I do. But we need radically different thinking and I am not seeing it.