United Way at Boston Book Fest

Last month, I had the distinct pleasure of presenting with Founder and best-selling author Peter and CEO Paul Reynolds of FableVision at Boston Book Fest,  an annual event held in Boston’s Copley Square that draws thousands of people to the area for what I affectionately refer to as “Nerd Paradise.”

It’s a mostly free event that welcomes big and small literary names alike to the city for a few days of thought-provoking panels and workshops all meant to inspire and educate.

Now what would a Marketing Director at a medium-to-large sized non-profit be doing at such a festival you might ask? Apart from hungrily attending as many panels as I could and gazing with rockstar-like admiration at the featured speakers, I helped organize and participate in the United Way and FableVision-led session for the “BBF Unbound” series with a workshop entitled “Bring your Nonprofit’s Story to Life.” It was geared at helping teach organizations, schools, and nonprofits how to use the power of storytelling to further and accelerate its mission by reaching people in a more emotionally engaging and compelling way.

Part of the impetus for the session was due to the success United Way had last year working with FableVision to produce “Our Tree,” an original, allegorical fable that tells the story of United Way in a new way, one that highlights the role that each and every person can have in making a difference in their community.

We really wanted to share the best practices we had gathered from that partnership and present them in a unique forum like Boston Book Fest. We had a wonderfully engaged audience and people had lots of great questions and insights to offer about how a similar tactic might work within their own organizations.  So I’m looking forward to seeing how many more non-profit fables get produced in 2014.

To read FableVision’s recap of the Book Fest, click here.

To learn more about “Our Tree” and how you can bring use it to engage your community, click here.

Erin Sunderland is the Development Marketing Director at United Way United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.