If there were just one post on my entire blog that I could be certain people read, this would be the one … including watching Dan Pallotta’s sensational TED Talk video.
In the past 9 months, hoping to increase the positive impact I’m making in the world, I’ve started reaching out to non-profits to start a conversation about re-thinking how they use photography and visual storytelling to support their causes.
As an expert in photography and visual storytelling, I naively expected to find an audience with an appetite for what I could bring to the table. In reality, it’s been a frustrating and confusing 9 months.
While I could easily moan about the resistance I’ve encountered, I’d rather talk about why I went down this path to begin with … because maybe some of you have some ideas that can help me find the traction in this community that has been evading me.
While there is a case to be made for improving the quality of photography and storytelling used by charities and non-profits, there is a more fundamental problem. The underlying assumption that fundraising success hinges on raising the level of awareness and education … is flawed.
While problem and solution focused messaging will get people to care about your issue, it does not necessarily follow that because you have made people CARE, you have also convinced them to GIVE. If that were true, non-profits and charities would not have near the problem they have in financially supporting their missions.
So, what is the solution? Better photography? Better storytelling?
I would argue that it’s less about “better” storytelling and more about telling your story in a different way, with a different purpose.
It is a natural instinct to be complete in telling a story, but that is not the only storytelling model.
For charities and non-profits, building in deliberate gaps in the problem-to-solution story offers a place for your giving audience to insert themselves – to begin seeing themselves as an integral, important and needed part of the problem-to-solution journey.
The Hero’s Journey is a classic, proven storytelling formula, often used by charities and non-profits. In employing this formula, though, the teller must be clear about which steps to punctuate in the journey and, most importantly, who the hero is.
If you are part of a charity and/or non-profit, or know someone in that world, I’d love to connect so we can talk about how to raise the fundraising effectiveness.
Changing the world is a TEAM SPORT and I could really use some help getting this snowflake started downhill...so it can one day become a giant snowball!