Reframing newsletter

Maximum Impact: The Power of the Collective Parts

April 14, 2016

After spending the last several newsletters breaking down each narrative element of the new frame for human services, now is a good time to pull it together in the complete Building Well-Being Narrative.

FrameWorks Institute’s research demonstrates that it is the use of the entire Building Well-Being Narrative that has the biggest impact on increasing the public’s support for the full range of human services, including direct services, prevention, remediation, advocacy, and research.

reframing complete narrative

Image used courtesy of the FrameWorks Institute

It is therefore most effective when each of the elements below are used in concert and in order to realize the full effect of the narrative. Using any of the elements on its own will diminish the impact of human service communications, and in some cases have a detrimental effect.

Lead with the value of Human Potential to define why human services matter to society. The belief that all people should have the opportunity to live up to their full potential is a widely shared value in American culture. Invoking the value early in organization, advocacy, and fundraising materials helps the public understand what is at stake.

Explain how the issue “builds well-being” with Construction metaphors. People outside of the human service sector have a very limited understanding of the field’s work, but most people have a general understanding of what goes into a successful construction project, such as thoughtful planning, trained professionals, and quality tools and materials. This metaphor helps the public make sense of the complex systems affecting well-being.

Expand on the Construction metaphor to show how well-being can be disrupted or impeded. Construction metaphors can also help the public see that well-being, just like a building, will need ongoing maintenance and repairs over time in order to weather life’s storms.

Integrate Life Cycle examples to demonstrate that the issue benefits people across the life span and to transition to the specific solutions that are being promoted. Explaining how the specific activities, programs, and desired outcomes contained within human services benefit and support people at different points in their lives normalizes the need for human services and provides a more holistic perspective of human services by defining the prevention, research, and planning aspects of the sector’s work.