Practically and technically getting stories from the field

January 1, 0001

In response to our recent survey, one reader shared with us their challenge: “Obtaining the information and photos we need from the field to present needs in a timely and security-friendly way; presenting specific needs to donors and prayer partners in a way that’s engaging and keeps workers safe.“I wrote to ask them to clarify a bit, and their challenge is one that we have faced ourselves in ActBeyond (and I’m sure others have faced as well). Here are some additional points they made:

  • Workers often don’t respond to our requests for information and photos. Sometimes this is due to busyness; other times it may be due to a lack of understanding about why this information is so important, or due to security concerns. This is probably our biggest challenge: how do we convince workers that sending us what we ask for is worth their time and energy?
  • Workers respond, but send things we can’t use. This is particularly true of pictures as many times the pictures we do receive are of poor quality or pose a security risk. (Due to the fact that many [of our] workers serve in areas in which their connection with [our agency] could pose a risk to their safety—and the safety of local believers with whom they work—it’s our policy to refrain from showing the face of any worker in our publications and online. The same goes for faces of national believers.)
  • Due to our security concerns, taking appropriate photos often requires creativity—and more energy and effort on the part of workers.
  • Our need for photos and information is growing (due to our increased social media engagement and developing a new website—scheduled to go live by the fall), so the level of response we once received from workers is no longer sufficient.

Have you and your agency faced these issues? What wisdom would you share in response? In particular: do you have a sample brand guide you’d be willing to share with me (and them–I would forward)? Email How do you practically receive and store and share photos? What technological solutions have you adopted? Any other thoughts? Feel free to comment below or send an email to