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Meet the Winners of Storymakers 2017

For seven years, TechSoup has brought together educational courses, webinars, NetSquared meetups, social media events, and a storytelling contest into one large campaign: Storymakers. Why? TechSoup believes that nonprofits can change the world and that storytelling provides the means to do so. As nonprofits increase their storytelling capacity, more organizations are able to carry their messages of hope, change, and light to the public.

This year, for Storymakers 2017, we received 515 submissions including 403 videos and 112 Instagram photos. We saw 41 percent of these videos come from outside the United States. This doubled our global participation from 2016!

All of our winners demonstrate how storytelling can be used to drive both fundraising and advocacy. From helping consumers care about the women who make their clothes to communicating the need for a bird sanctuary capital campaign, our winning videos make a big impact.

storymakers-rubric.pngThere were three award categories that were designed so that organizations competed against organizations with similar budgets: Local Impact, Driving Change, and Shifting the Future. We also created a category for global submissions this year, Orbis Unum. And last but not least, there was the People's Choice Award. All our top videos went through three rounds of scoring, and the final decisions were never harder.

Let's meet our winners!

Made in Pakistan by Remake — Local Impact Category Winner

How do you make shoppers care about the young women who make their clothes? For the organization Remake, based in San Francisco, storytelling humanizes these women.

The Oasis Sanctuary Capital Expansion Project by The Oasis Sanctuary — Driving Change Category Winner

People who love birds also love photos. This basic fact influenced The Oasis Sanctuary's video in support of its capital campaign. Created with Adobe products, this video shows how fundraising and storytelling can aid one another.


Anatomy of a Rescue by The Wild Animal Sanctuary — Shifting the Future Category Winner

The Wild Animal Sanctuary, based in Keenesburg, Colorado, wanted to make the experience of rescuing tigers and bears real and tangible. Employing RED cameras (some costing over $75,000!), aerial drones, camera stabilizers, and color correction, The Wild Animal Sanctuary succeeded beautifully.


How Maya Women Are Changing Rural Guatemala by Mil Milagros — Orbis Unum Category Winner

Storytelling is key to the team at Mil Milagros. Video allows it to spotlight the women in Guatemala who are battling the fourth highest rate of malnutrition in the world and share their stories with supporters in the U.S. Shot on an iPhone, this video was the team's first professionally made project.


Livestock Insurance to Protect Snow Leopards by Snow Leopard Trust — People's Choice

The team at the Snow Leopard Trust knows how to get the vote out! Having 1 million Facebook fans helps. In turn, the Snow Leopard Trust utilizes its large network to collect, build up, and then share out even more animal photos.

Honorable Mentions

Best Instagram Photo: R. Evon Benson-Idahosa on Behalf of Pathfinders Justice Initiative

R. Evon Benson-Idahosa is Pathfinders Justice Initiative's executive director. She explained, "We believe that every single woman should have a seat at the table of her life and live a life that is dignified and respected." Her passion and commitment are plain in this winning photo.


Over three and a half years later, I am still demanding, #BringBackOurGirls #ChibokGirls #storymakers2017

A post shared by Ruth Evon Idahosa /Pathfinders (@findyrpath) on

Best Non-English Orbis Unum: Stowarzyszenie Potrafię Więcej (I Can Do More) by Stowarzyszenie Ciekawi Świata

Best Non-English Orbis Unum: Chciej Więcej by Stowarzyszenie Ciekawi Swiata

Best Use of Humor: Esther's Follies Magician Magically Clears Animal Shelters by Texas Humane Heroes

Best Short Story: Do Not Take Clean Water for Granted! by Embrace Relief

Our Sponsors

Finally, a special thank-you to all of our sponsors, without whom Storymakers would not be possible:

  • Platinum: Adobe and Microsoft
  • Gold: InterConnection, Mobile Beacon, and USB Memory Direct
  • Bronze: GrantStation

Additional Resources: Storytelling for Nonprofits

Want to learn more about storytelling for your nonprofit? Here are a few resources to get you started.

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