[NPFX Ep. 23] Breaking Down Barriers to Social Change (with Ricardo "Cobe" Williams)

nonprofit strategy podcast

Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to help you raise more money so you can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: Breaking Down Barriers to Social Change

Advancing a nonprofit's mission requires the cooperation and support of many individuals and groups — from the recipients of your services to lawmakers, donors, community leaders, and especially the people working within the organization itself. In today's podcast episode, we'll explore what it takes to enroll key stakeholders, overcome barriers to change, and craft an effective narrative with the power to inspire and transform.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts:

  • What is "narrative framework" and "narrative strategy"? [2:44]
  • Josh's path to developing his narrative framework process [4:00]
  • Examples of how story is better than data at effecting change [9:21]
  • How to tell if your nonprofit needs help telling your disruptive story [10:15]
  • An example of a nonprofit's disruptive story [11:42]
  • Why your staff might resist changing your branding [13:55]
  • How Interrupt the Violence overcame barriers to change in their community during the COVID pandemic [18:17]
  • Introducing Ricardo "Cobe" Williams [22:33]
  • The importance of choosing the right messenger [29:22]
  • How to identify the most effective candidates for delivering your message [30:15]
  • Why listening and understanding is the key to breaking down barriers [32:59]
  • When a nonprofit's good intentions go wrong and why [38:29]
  • Josh's top lessons from working with Interrupt the Violence [39:54]
  • The biggest mistake nonprofits make in telling their story [42:25]
  • 3 steps to tell a powerful story that will inspire and transform [44:24]

Special Offer: Free 30-minute consultation for NPFX listeners

Additional IPM Resources:

Subscribe to NPFX:

Josh Gryniewicz has spent his career in nonprofit, initially as a crisis counselor and later in external relations. For over a decade, he has worked in public interest communication. As a creative, Josh has applied his craft to writing, spoken word, filmmaking, comic books, and other media. His nonfiction has been published in PopMatters, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and Medium.

Ricardo “Cobe” Williams, founder and executive director of Interrupt the Violence, is an award-winning peacekeeper, community activist, and public speaker. He has provided training for 52 sites in 23 cities in the United States and dozens more throughout the globe over the past decade. Mr. Williams has trained over one thousand violence interrupters worldwide in mediation and conflict resolution strategies. Mr. Williams received the Hero Award from world famous psychologist Phillip Zimbardo, the United Nations Peace Award, and recognition from former Illinois governor Pat Quinn, the Mayor of Milwaukee, University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago State University. He has appeared on Vice, People Magazine, the Guardian, and numerous other media outlets.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

Contact IPM