Cause & Effective: Use Prezi to clarify your message

By Paula Tesch

Duarte has a very special spot in our heart for cause-related work. Aside from allowing us to think outside the box and reach a global audience, it  makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is always nice.

Thankfully, thought leaders are neck-deep in presentations. And over the years, we’ve learned that a presentation isn’t just standing up and speaking to slides. Whether enticing investors, recruiting volunteers, or raising awareness in the community, thought leaders present information in some form or another at every step along the way. And it’s not always on a podium, in front of an audience.

A cause that recently came to Duarte’s attention is called Global Citizen Year. A brief description below outlines the goals of the program.

About Global Citizen Year

Each year, Global Citizen Year (GCY) selects a Corps of high school seniors, and supports them through apprenticeships with social enterprises in Asia, Africa and Latin America during a “bridge year” before college. Students enter college with the ability to speak a second language, a clearer sense of themselves, and a global perspective. Their mission: prepare the next generation to address the global challenges of the 21st century.

Their mission is well-stated, but during pitch meetings, they were met with same questions, and apprehensions time and time again. Speakers had trouble conveying that GCY is an integral step in American education experience,  not a “break” or an “alternative track”. They continued to hear the resounding refrain:

“I really wish I could just see this visually, it would be much easier to explain and be much more powerful!”

GCY recognized that their statement alone was not conveying their message clearly. Typically, this is when most people would open PowerPoint… but GCY went a slightly different route. Below is an explanation from GCY’s Wil Keenan, about how they were able to solve their problem:

“When Abby, the founder of GCY, returned from Pop!Tech with a copy of slide:ology and fundamentals of visual storytelling, she sent her team to the drawing board. As their new media director was looking for other utilities as alternatives to PowerPoint, he stumbled on Prezi. Prezi seemed to be the perfect solution because it was, non linear, it utilized depth of field for emphasis, and could easily navigate an audience through illustrations. After watching a sample presentation on Prezi, GCY was sold that it would be a powerful tool to guide key audiences through their 9-month program model, while keeping everything in the context of the status quo – Americans going directly to college. After crafting an illustration that highlighted the core components of the Global Citizen Year experience, they took the drawing to Prezi, inserted text, and crafted a path:

In a similar fashion, the team at GCY knew they wanted to use the components of the illustration to address the core questions and concerns of their applicant pool. So, they used Prezi to walk the applicants through 3 conversations that covered common concerns among applicants:

Prezi was a great solution for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Prezi environment is able to clearly illustrate the specific benefits of their program, while remaining in the context of the bigger picture; which is that students ultimately attend college.

Also, the emphasis created by the macro and micro levels of focus the allows the presentation to stand alone more effectively, which in turn allows the message to be distributed more efficiently (like, for example, on our blog.) The Prezi is able to lives on their website, and now on our blog speaking to their points without saying a word… Makes spreading the word about your cause all the easier.

If you haven’t used Prezi, check it out. And if you haven’t checked out Global Citizen Year, you need to. And hurry, because they are currently recruiting their next class of GCY Fellows, and the final application deadline is May 15, 2010!

Written by

Paula Tesch