Strengths: Trellises can put organizations or social movements—especially those that have been misunderstood or unacknowledged—on the map. By focusing on characters who sacrifice for what they believe in, and who take risks in order to advance opportunities for others, they can inspire others to do the same. Like Trowels, Trellises provide a solution, and, like Rakes, often feature different characters or perspectives, but Trellises are distinct because they support an ongoing, already established solution to a social or policy problem.
Trellises generally don’t:
• Depict completely unsuccessful efforts (although obstacles, twists, and turns can certainly advance the storyline)
• Question the core values and vision of the movement they celebrate
Trellises are great for:
• Publicly affirming and celebrating the contributions of change agents
• In targeted settings, giving change agents, donors, boards of directors, and potential new allies an intimate perspective on the movement’s challenges and values
• In the context of a strong strategy, encouraging replication of successful programs
• Raising funds and building support for a movement, both online and offline
• Offering training tools and helping new generations grasp the significance of activists who came before them
Ideal first responses to Trellises from viewers/participants:
• “I’m totally inspired. What can I do to support this [or a related] movement?”
• “I never realized how much time and commitment it takes to change things. We all need to do our part.”
How Do We Know If Trellises Are Making a Difference?