Exploring the impact of Restorative Narrative

Office table with notepad, computer and coffee cup

In recent years, “impact” has become a buzzword in the nonprofit world as funders emphasize the need for NGOs to demonstrate that their work is having a positive effect.

Impact is no doubt important, but it can be difficult to measure, especially when it comes to media. Stories can affect people on a deeply personal level, but the creators of that media may never know it.

At Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh), a media-related nonprofit, we’ve become increasingly interested in the impact of Restorative Narrative — a term we coined to describe a genre of stories that show how people and communities are making a meaningful progression from a place of despair to a place of resilience.

On a quantitative level, we know that Restorative Narratives often do well in terms of Web traffic and social shares. We gleaned as much from the work of our 2015 Restorative Narrative Fellows, and we’re looking forward to learning more from our 2016 Restorative Narrative Fellows.

Quantitative measurements are especially important for newsrooms, but as a nonprofit, we’re more interested in the qualitative impact of Restorative Narrative. We see this qualitative impact as being two-fold: the extent to which our Restorative Narrative work impacts individual media practitioners, and the extent to which the Restorative Narrative genre impacts people and communities.

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