Why is it that news about a child trapped in a well here in America is more likely to galvanize public attention than reports about the deaths of hundreds of thousands in a genocidal war in Africa? What is it that prevents people from wanting to help, especially if the victims are in a far away place?
Paul Slovic, a founder and President of Decision Research, and professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, has made a career of studying empathy and the factors that trigger it.
At the recent Communications Network annual conference held at the Ford Foundation in New York City, 20 volunteers known collectively as the Gorilla Engagement Squad, used Flip Cams to conduct video interviews with 120 conference attendees.
In addition to asking participants what resonated from the sessions they attended, Gorillas asked: “What has and hasn’t changed about foundation communications over the past five years?”
This is the first of several installments in which we couple reflections from the Fall 2009 Communications Network Annual Conference (#comnet09) session presenters with feedback from attendees of those sessions captured by the Gorilla Engagement Squad. First up: Eric Henderson, Special Advisor for Living Cities, reflects on his session entitled, “Brand, Meet Twitter. Twitter, Meet Brand.” We lead with post-session analysis provided in this clip from Debra Rubino, Director of Strategic Communications at Open Society Institute-Baltimore who relates session content to the OSI-Baltimore blog she guides entitled: “Audacious Ideas.”
Communications staff charged with disseminating knowledge captured during foundation initiatives often face a daunting task: how do you package resources in user-friendly ways while still retaining the nuances that make it so valuable? Here’s one example of how The Denver Foundation, which has just been awarded the 2009 Critical Impact Award from the Council on Foundations, worked to achieve that balance.