Public Storytelling




What do you want others to know about you, your services and your expertise? This is one of the first questions we ask prospective clients. If they can’t answer that question, then we know that’s where we need to begin our work together. We help them see that who they are matters greatly to those they are trying to reach. In many cases, in fact, it is this information about how someone or something came to be  that puts a human face on clients as well as the community they want to serve. In many ways, it also serves as a roadmap that compels others to understand and appreciate the journey. And that can take thought, practice and effort. 


It also requires a willingness to explore storylines to determine what’s authentic. Everyone has a few storylines; some better (and more appropriate) than others.
We recently came across a great article on about storytelling.  Michael Lewis’ 9 Rules of Storytelling looks at traditional storytelling from a writer’s perspective. We think the information is helpful for anyone who wants to develop meaningful and relevant ways to communicate their backstory into their public relations campaign.  

Here are four of his rules:
Rule #3: Pay attention to the way you tell the story of your own life.
If you find you are caught in a ‘poor me’ story, consider its impact upon others. Remember, you want people to use your expertise and services because what you have to offer is effective. You don’t want them to pity you.
Rule #4: Admit contradictory evidence.
In your story, you are a character. Observe character traits - even when they are in conflict-  and appreciate how they combine to make you and your message unique. Hone those traits as they express what you have in common with others. They are what make you and your life experiences relatable.
Rule #8: Have the nerve to be yourself—you can’t learn voice.
Don’t try to tell someone else’s story. Be you because that’s who others will see. This is who they will want to connect with.
Rule #9: Figure out what you’re trying to say and don’t overtax the reader with how you say it.
This is where practice comes into play. Keep the message simple and brief. The more accessible and immediate, the better. 

To read his complete article, click here

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Disasters & Business


When Disaster Strikes Your Business

Weather conditions like those experienced in Texas hurricane floods and California wild fires are upside-down disasters. They are turning everything inside-out. How do businesses stay afloat at times like this and what keys to recovery can they use? This is especially critical for small businesses as many of them, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are unable to open their doors again.

We recently read an Open Forum article by Julie Bawden Davis about how to future-proof your business in the wake of natural disaster.  Here are three of the more salient points that we believe are essential:

Back Up Documents and Key Information

Businesses are advised to make sure important files are saved to the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere. This helps to maintain business continuity. If the cloud isn’t an option, then make sure duplicate copies (paper, discs, jump drives, etc.) are updated regularly.

Check in with Employees and Vendors

Those who are involved with your business are important people. Once you know that your team members are out of harm’s way – and are able to resume their positions - you can implement a strategy to keep business moving forward, and that starts with letting customers know you are still providing them with reliable services and/or products.

Remember that sometimes customers can also be in harm’s way, so understanding and working together can alleviate their hardships, too.

Get Help.

In the face of natural disasters, isolation is not a solution. Check in with fellow business people to offer and receive support. Someone may have an idea or a tip that could make all the difference for your business survival. Or you may be able to provide assistance to a less fortunate business.

This networking can take time, so don’t wait until you are in the midst of a disaster to start developing contacts. Make those phones calls and send those emails now.

Although we have not experienced a natural disaster, we make it a point to stay in touch with several other public relations professionals. This has allowed us to lend a helping hand every now and then.

And no matter which way you look at it, that’s always good business!

To read Davis’ complete article, click here

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Need Legal Help?

Two Upcoming Programs 

For Your California Clients

CLA was founded in 1974 to provide legal services to artists and members of the creative arts community. In 1987, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts [BALA] joined forces with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts-Los Angeles [VLA] to form California Lawyers for the Arts as a statewide organization. CLA is part of an informal network of “Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts” programs that serve artists through state-based organizations throughout the United States.

Launching Your Pod: Legal Issues for Podcasters

Wed. Aug 30, 2017 7:00pm - 8:30pm, Oakland.

Join Daniel Senter of Donahue Fitzgerald LLP for a discussion of the essential legal and business concerns that podcasters need to consider when developing their podcasts. This workshop will cover use of music and other copyrighted materials in podcasts, standard podcast distribution contracts, advertising issues, and the like.

Senter is an attorney at Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, specializing in intellectual property, technology, and music law. He handles a variety of copyright, trademark, licensing, and general business matters for artists, entrepreneurs, and businesses. He has a special interest in the representation of podcasters, webcasters, and broadcasters. During law school he clerked for the Federal Communications Commission. He currently serves as a CLA Panel Attorney and volunteers with the local music nonprofit, The Bay Bridged.and more.

Year-End Giving – Creating Your “Ask” Package

Fri. Oct 6, 2017 9:30am - 11:00am, Sacramento

Take advantage of heightened philanthropic giving patterns in November and December with your own year-end giving campaign.  Come prepared for this fast-paced 90-minute workshop with your key message of how donations will fulfill your organization’s mission and benefit our community.   At the end of the workshop, you’ll leave with your timetable, your draft letter and an outline of who will receive it along with your social media plan.  

This workshop is geared towards representatives of established nonprofit organizations who already have a 501(c)(3) in place and some basic history as an organization including a board of directors and an annual budget of some sort.

Allison Cagley, presenter, has worked for local and regional arts and education organizations for 30 years in the greater Sacramento area.  Allison’s extensive experience includes all areas of fund development, board management and marketing.  She is the director of development for California Musical Theatre (Music Circus and Broadway Sacramento) which aligns well with her life-long passion for musical theatre thanks to her parents’ influence.  Allison is a past president of the California Capital Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, a member of the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts board of directors, and a member of the Rotary Club of Sacramento.


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