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Foundation Asks: If You Like What You Read, Pass it On

Is it enough just to get people to read a good story? Or do good things happen when stories are read and then shared?

That’s what BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation hopes to learn from watching how people engage with a new website called “inpired.”

Launched in late January, the site features text and video stories about nine of the foundations grantees — a handful of the many organizations it supports to help improve the health of North Carolinians, especially those living in low-income communities.

It’s not enough, though, just to get people to visit the site and read about the nonprofits and the work they’re doing. Instead, the foundation wants people to share these stories with their friends and colleagues in order “to inspire others” that they can help make life better for everyone throughout the state, says Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC Foundation president.

As incentive, the foundation has set aside up to $100,000 which it will divide among the organizations featured on the website to support their ongoing work.  Each time a story is shared on Twitter, Facebook or emailed, one dollar will go to this effort.

“As a grantmaker that works with organizations doing inspiring things, we’re exposed to these stories everyday,” says Amon Marstiller, communications manager. “But I expect a lot of people around the state don’t know about what’s going on in their own backyards.”

In past years, the foundation has published NPR-style grantee stories on its website or sent them around on CDs, but this time Marstiller said it wanted to go an extra step by enlisting the community in helping spread the word about the good work being done in North Carolina.

(Click above for “inspired” story about Greene County Health Care & North Carolina Dental Health Fund)

“We think by getting more exposure for organizations having impact in their communities, they’ll benefit as more people learn about what they’re doing.”

Visit the site and see if BCBSNC Foundation’s story-telling experiment also inspires you to think about different ways to tell and share your organization’s stories.

Bruce Trachtenberg is executive director of the Communications Network


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