About The CCK Program

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Few phrases are more powerful than this one: "Once upon a time…"
We automatically perk up, hard-wired, it seems, to listen. Maybe it's a carry-over from our cave-dwelling days. A good story - with directional dancing and finger horns to our heads - might have meant the difference between having antelope for dinner or settling for a grassy salad. We haven't lost our ear for stories; but there is something about our professional lives that shoves the telling of them to the after-hours, and the safe audiences of friends and family.

That amounts to lost opportunity.
If we find ourselves engaged and informed by a good story in our leisure time, why wouldn't we use storytelling at work to move projects forward, breathe life into dry policies and build relationships?

That's the point behind the storytelling boot camp The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation host for charitable non-profits. A note of disclosure here: I'm one of facilitators; video expert Nelson Dunk is the other. The next phase - the seventh - starts May 2nd and there is still room for participants.

So why commit the time? Why bother picking up some basic storytelling tools and exploring the impact of video? I'll mention a few ideas, but Capacity Waterloo Region's Stories Worth Telling, the guide which complements the program, offers a more thorough discussion.

When people hear about an agency's clients, volunteers, achievements - and struggles - they empathize. They may even want to help with money or time. Storytelling makes an organization feel better about itself. Staff and volunteers see themselves has having roles in the organization's ongoing narrative. A good story in the non-profit sector sets itself above a lot of stiff, dull, jargoned and generally unappealing messaging. Within local agencies doing a thousand different things to improve the community - from feeding the homeless to getting dementia sufferers to paint - there are stories that will make people laugh or cry, or simply stop and think.

Yet the non-profit sector suffers from a sense that nobody's really interested, a fear that somebody might take offence and a presumption that mission statements capture everything anybody would want to know. Maybe at one time an agency could simply lay out its cause in a mail-out and expect donations of time or money to come in. These days, donors are consumers, and consumers do their research on the web. It's not enough for an organization to point to its annual report and say it's doing a fine job.

Web-savvy donors want to see the who, what, when and where to back that up. When an organization takes the trouble to tell its story well, people feel informed and appreciated.The Wired Wealthy, an American study published in 2008, found that while charity websites do a good job of telling donors how to donate, they don't do enough to inspire web visitors. The study also urged charities to embrace video as a storytelling device.

Text and video coming out of The KWCF training program land on the Centre for Community Knowledge web site, a kind of one-stop, who's-who in the local non-for-profit community. Participating organizations, of course, can also use the material to welcome visitors into their own virtual homes. The idea is to build storytelling into the non-profit culture.

Stories tend to be infectious. One usually leads to another...
Christian Aagaard, Storytelling Facilitator

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Nelson Dunk
Chief Storyteller
Skylight Visual 
Media Productions


"It is an honour to help equip the non-pofit sector to create videos that inspire, impact and rouse community to action through the CCK." 

Picture - Christian Aagaard2.jpgChristian Aagaard
Freelance Writer
at Rapidviking


"The CCK focuses on people, not
mission statements or numbers,
to show impact."


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The Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK) has been developed from the work of the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF) and its partner IBM Canada. In June 2009, TCF's Community Knowledge Centre was created as a way for organizations to share their successes and stories with potential supporters. Inspired by this, The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation has developed its own platform to share our region's stories with the local community.

By developing the CCK, local non-profits are able to connect with philanthropists who want to make a difference in their community. It allows local organizations to showcase current projects designed to address issues identified in the Waterloo Region's Vital Signs® report.

Truly, the CCK is for everyone. It provides donors, fund holders, media, members of the public and community organizations the knowledge about new initiatives making this region the best it can be. By being the intermediary between local organizations and the citizens in our community we hope it is a place where you will find inspiration from the stories that these organizations are sharing.

For KWCF donors, the CCK is a tool designed to help expand your knowledge of the many philanthropic opportunities in our community, providing you with key information about organizations doing impactful work around the Region. If someone is in the beginning stages of their philanthropic journey, or are thinking about beginning a relationship with The KWCF, the CCK can help them understand how their investment can make a lasting difference.

For members of the media, it is a resource to help spark ideas for stories that speak to the issues in our region and about the community organizations that are transforming people's lives.

For members of the public, it is a place to help gain an understanding of the great work being done to help build our cities and townships, and to help them connect with and learn about organizations that are working in an specific issue area, location, or age group that matters to them.

For community organizations, it is a place to help you tell your stories of change, impact, and community vitality. It is also a place where you can gain an understanding of the great work being done by other community organizations, and where you can identify and opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

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Program Outline

*Phase 7 Schedule*New Dates
Phase 8 Schedule

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Lizz DiCesare
CCK Content Manager
The Kitchener and Waterloo
Community Foundation

519-725-1806 ext. 210

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