Frequently asked questions

How do I use the narrative if it is not entirely aligned with my core mission and existing messaging?

The language and words used in the shared narrative should be used as a guide for framing your work in a more expansive way to invite allied partners and supporters. It should not replace your mission or purpose.

The narrative doesn’t use the words in my mission statement (e.g., “environment” or “education”). How do I use it to talk about my work?

The narrative is designed to reach new audiences by first connecting on shared values, and then leading them into the larger narrative. Once there, there are opportunities to speak to your own work in your own way. The narrative is a way to open a conversation, reach agreement on a shared vision for the future, and then discuss the specifics of how we get there. This message map is a tool you can use to fit your specific work into the framework of the narrative by telling stories of your work and offering reasons to believe the value statements. This diagram shows how the narrative can move people to being open to a dialogue about your specific work.

What do I do with the “Words to Watch?” Should I remove or replace all of the words listed?

The “Words to Watch” are ones that emerged as having nuanced meanings to target audiences. You can certainly continue to use them, and now will have the background to use them intentionally, knowing what they may represent to others. The most important thing to be aware of is that many words will require context to convey the meaning you likely intend, for example, when talking about safety, be prepared to explain how and why safety in the outdoors is an issue, and what some solutions may be – rather than assuming the listener understands there is an existing safety issue. When a logical replacement word presented itself we noted that, for example, using “everyone” or “all people” instead of “Americans.”

How can I use the narrative to reach out to new funders?

The shared narrative was vetted and tested with funders outside of the environmental field. You can use the core message and pillars in this message map to frame a rationale for supporting your activities that will resonate with supporters from allied fields.

Can I use the narrative language within my organizational documents? Do I need to credit Rethink Outside?

Yes, you can use the narrative language in your organizational documents, grant proposals, presentations, or projects. The narrative is not owned by any one organization, but if you would like to provide information on narrative’s development, see this recommended attribution language

How do I use the narrative to pitch media a story about my work?

Start with the narrative statement to engage a reporter about the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to live in a healthy community. Then go into the specifics of how your work delivers on that promise. The value statements on this message map can also be used as framing talking points for an interview, supported by ‘reasons to believe’ and stories specific to your work.

How can I apply the narrative in external communications, advertising, or marketing materials?

This is where the Rethink Outside tagline and hashtags can shine, as they are designed to be brand-building tools (logos are available for download here). If your advertising copy allows for inclusion of one or more value statements or the narrative language, that could be another amplifier. The messages on this message map are a good place to start when developing ad copy.

Where can I find a basic ‘how-to for a small shop’ presentation?

See this campaign slide deck and refer to the resources page for specific templates and tools. We recommend using this message map as a starting point for a conversation about the core values and principles guiding your work, partnership, or project.

How will Blue Sky Funders Forum use Rethink Outside to bring new allies and funders into the field?

Blue Sky members and partners initiated work on Rethink Outside (the Story of Us) to invite more funders and supporters into the field of environmental literacy. Using the Rethink Outside platform, Blue Sky plans to host funder events across the country to engage new funders from the fields of health and healthcare, education, children and youth, social justice, and corporate social responsibility. Blue Sky will monitor and report on investments in the field through its Tracking the Field database, a partnership between Blue Sky and the Environmental Grantmakers Association.



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