Plenary Session: How to Tell Stories that Uphold the Dignity of Communities

June 14, 2022

08:30:00 AM - 01:30:00 PM


In this interactive session, we will undergo a practical exploration of an intentional, responsible approach to fundraising storytelling.

One of the consistent and critically important challenges in the charitable sector, particularly for charities working with vulnerable populations, is the tension between the drive to fundraise in a way that will maximize donation dollars vs. the vital importance of demonstrating need in a way that supports the communities we work with in the long term. Frequently, this comes from a feeling that the most “powerful” images are the ones that generate feelings of sadness, pity or guilt — which are often the images that simultaneously perpetuate cultural stereotypes, reinforce white savior complexes, or remove agency. The drive to raise donation dollars can feel at odds with how we must operate to support the communities we work with, which means that what many fundraisers and charitable organizations face becomes a functional and an ethical dilemma which can lead to inconsistent and ineffective fundraising marketing. So, the question is, how can we, as fundraisers, reconcile this dilemma within ourselves and our organizations? How can we create and curate content that is effective and also responsible? Because responsible fundraising does not need to come at the expense of strong fundraising results.

In this interactive session, we will undergo a practical exploration of an intentional, responsible approach to fundraising storytelling, including an approach to help charities develop content in a way that avoids exploitation and a functional tool to help charities self-assess their own material for exploitative content. We will also work together to uncover areas of opportunity within attendee organizations + consider and assess the efficacy and potential ramifications of current messaging in-market.

$20 ticket includes breakfast, lunch, plenary/workshop, and follow-up virtual booster session.

About the Facilitator

Mo Waja is a professional speaker, marketer, author, and podcast host and producer. As a marketer, Mo has worked with personal, non-profit, and for-profit brands in the charitable, software, and financial sectors, amongst others, developing successful storytelling and integrated communications strategies. Currently, Mo serves as Manager, Marketing Strategy at the creative media consultancy, GALE. As a speaker, Mo has spent tens of thousands of hours coaching business professionals, nonprofits, post-secondary students, and campaign advocates in the art of professional speaking and communication, and has delivered sessions on topics ranging from fundraising and marketing ethics to digital storytelling strategy, to social media and e-philanthropy, to personal and professional branding. Beyond marketing, Mo is an avid pickleball player and is currently sponsored to compete by Engage Pickleball.

Photo and Video Consent

By registering for this event, you are giving the Grunin Foundation permission to use photos and video on our website and social media. You will also be added to the Grunin Foundation mailing list.

This event is presented by the Grunin Foundation in partnership with Support Center and Center for Nonprofits.


Sheraton Eatontown Hotel

6 Industrial Way East
Eatontown, NJ 07724