Creatives tell stories, seek the truth, make art, and observe. They’re able to capture the essence and complexities of life today by finding the right people to tell their stories, which they then contextualize and shape to share with millions. Creatives have to be sensitive, build trust, know when to push, and when to turn off the camera.

Along the way, they act as fundraisers, technologists, connectors, and mediators. For those creatives who seek to contribute to an ecosystem of change, they’re also likely to be  organizers, policy analysts, social scientists, and strategic communicators. Let’s not even get started on the expectations that they’ll also be skilled publicists, outreach professionals, impact producers, and evaluators. (Active Voice Lab thinks this pressure to multitask is unrealistic and counterproductive, by the way.)

The good news is that creatives are more essential to movement building than ever before. The more complicated news is that the stakes are higher, resources are limited, and measurable outcomes are often expected. And while the field is becoming increasingly professionalized, American University’s Center for Media and Social Impact’s survey just revealed that, at least among documentary professionals, fewer than a quarter make their living from their creative work.

At Active Voice Lab, we believe that funders and advocates will benefit from understanding what make creatives tick, and vice versa, in this media-saturated environment. Our tools are designed to help clarify, celebrate, and sustain the contributions that creatives make to social change every day.

While we continue to make the case for survival, we hope these resources will be helpful.

Want a new way to communicate your vision to funders and partners? Will your story bring people of different beliefs together, or rally the base, or something else entirely? Check out Horticulture.

What do you wish donors, allies, and organizational partners knew about your craft? What should you talk about before you “tie the knot” with them? See how we’re updating The Prenups.

How, if at all, do YOU assess if your work is making a difference? How do your peers and funders think about evaluation? Read the range of comments they have to share.

Why is “metrics mania” happening now? Turns out that assessing the influence of creative work has a noble modern history. Here’s ours.

Lead image by © Mihajlo Maricic | Alamy Stock Photo