Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tell an Engaging Story, Virtual or Live!

Barkada Circle recently led a workshop that challenged participants to look at their websites in a new way and ask the question: “Does my website tell an engaging story?”

The conversations centered around these key points:

Think of your home page as a book cover
You only have seconds to grab the viewer’s attention and make them want to explore further.


Showcase human themes
Stories about your programs are important, however the stories of the people behind and around these programs are what will resonate with your audience. Highlight narratives that bring emotional values to the fore such as hope, strength and transformation. They cut through to the human core which connects people more deeply to your mission.

Keep the language simple and free of business jargon
Write like you would talk to someone face-to-face. The goal is not to impress, but rather to make your audience understand.

Use a photo or video wherever you can highlight characters in your story
A human being is naturally drawn to an image of another human being. Hold the viewer’s attention with original images of real people who are part of your mission. Curate your photos and videos to highlight the humanity in your work.

Apply a visual rhythm
Create a balance between images and text for visual appeal. Making specific choices about the amount of text and the images that complement them helps the viewer focus and understand your key message and retain it. The common saying “less is more” applies here more than ever. For a good example, view the website of the nonprofit charity:water.

How do you move your website viewers to feel and act in the way you want them to? If your website doesn’t stir your own emotions, chances are it won’t stir theirs.


Thursday, May 29, 2014
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Street-Level Youth Media
1637 N. Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
Fee $10

From virtual storytelling to live and in-person! When was the last time you engaged a live audience with a compelling story?

Join Barkada Circle® for it’s 3rd Semi-Annual Storytelling Jam Session: WHAT’S YOUR READ, an evening of open mic storytelling for folks with a mission. This is a great opportunity to share your compelling story with your peers in a safe and supportive setting.

Do a live reading. Show a video. BE CREATIVE and try something new. BE BOLD.

You get the most benefit by coming unprepared with an unfinished story because the immediate feedback you get from the audience will help take your narrative to the next level.


Grantmakers on Stewardship: How Can Nonprofits Nurture Successful Collaborations?

gpa_debbieJoin us for GPA Chicago’s full-day conference 2014! 

Our day will begin by taking a fresh look at the role of grant professionals in the context of ever-increasing scrutiny and accountability. We are constantly called to be good stewards for the organizations we work with, as well as for their donors. Does this sometimes create difficult ethical dilemmas?

Our keynote speaker, Debbie DiVirgilio, will lead attendees through a process of understanding and establishing ethical standards of operation for grant professionals. View Debbie’s bio and read her post on LinkedIn about The Stewardship Compass.

After enjoying a delicious lunch prepared by the great chefs at Macy’s Culinary Institute, we will engage a panel of foundation representatives in conversation about Creating Effective Collaborations Appropriate to Funding Agency Missions and Goals. Our esteemed panel will comprise:

Monique Brunson
Director of Programs
Chicago Foundation for Women

Suzanne Connor
Senior Program Officer, Arts & Culture
Chicago Community Trust

Jalisa Hinkle
Coordinator, Advocate Bethany Community Health Fund
Advocate Charitable Foundation

Brad White
Associate Director
Alphawood Foundation

Go to the EVENT PAGE for the full agenda and to REGISTER

At our afternoon breakout sessions, you will have the opportunity to deep dive into many of the ideas raised at the keynote and panel discussion.

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm (2 concurrent sessions) 

Grant professionals as leaders
Debbie DiVirgilio, Principal, The Faith-Based Nonprofit Resource Center

Partnerships and how to make them work
Nalani McClendon, Principal, NK McClendon Consulting
Mary Visconti, Chief Executive Officer, Better Boys Foundation

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (2 concurrent sessions)

Fact Finding: Using Census Data in Grant Writing
Ileana C. Serrano, Information Services Specialist, U.S. Census Bureau

Improving communication and buy-in from program staff
Carole Brooks, Resource Development, Special Education District of Lake County
Joyce G. Poll, Nonprofit Strategist, J.G. Poll & Associates

Your attendance at the conference automatically qualifies you for a chance to win a FREE GPA national membership. Winner must be present.

Member — $90 early bird / $125 after April 18
Non-Member — $105 early bird / $140 after April 18
Student — $50 early bird / $65 after April 18

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, April 29. 

REGISTER TODAY and take advantage of the early bird discount