What journalists can teach us about fundraising
This post discusses gun violence and children. Please take care of yourself.
Journalists — just like fundraisers — must grab a reader’s attention immediately.
But unlike most fundraising teams I know, journalists spend countless hours tracking down compelling stories of individuals who can bring the article, podcast or book to life emotionally for the reader.
Earlier this month, Jack Healy with the New York Times wrote a piece to call attention to the rising rates of child deaths by gun violence. He didn’t start with a statistic. He didn’t start with an expert quote. He started with a story.
Kendall Munson was so worried about the gun violence in her neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side that she sent her sons to live with their grandparents outside Atlanta. But death found them anyway.
On Dec. 9, her goofy, football-loving 11-year-old son, Elyjah, and some friends were walking to a gas station for after-school snacks when one of Elyjah’s best friends, a 12-year-old, pulled a gun from a backpack and shot Elyjah in the head.
Non profits are swimming in emotionally compelling stories. But they are usually hiding in plain sight — with field staff, with volunteers, with beneficiaries themselves.
Surfacing the stories takes time and training. And when storytelling is not a strategic priority, stories don’t get told.