It was sad to see Jamar go. Are you talking with stories or stats? | npENGAGE

It was sad to see Jamar go. Are you talking with stories or stats?

By on May 3, 2012


Tuesday night I said good bye to Jamar.  But, I don’t think it will be for very long.  He’s a talent and I look forward to downloading his next record.  Jamar’s story [defunct link removed] was the hook, the initial draw to The Voice and even though he’s not in the finals I’ll still be tuning in next week.

I’m a fan of storytelling. I’m not a fan of public speaking, but it’s something I have to do.  To put myself at ease, I begin my presentations with a story. It’s a great way to form a connection with your audience.

I’m not the only fan of storytelling; it’s a tried and true marketing technique. I’ve been reading Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.  It’s a good book, but one chapter really spoke to me: Emotional.  In this chapter the Heath brothers discuss drawing on your audience’s emotions to achieve your desired results.

From the first sentence I was hooked and wanted more:  Mother Teresa once said “If I look at the mass, I will never act.  If I look at the one, I will.” I’m right there with Mother Teresa.  The mass is overwhelming, but helping one person is doable.

When it comes to marketing our events, most folks feel that big numbers are the way to go. Big numbers are just that big.  They’re often so big that we’re unable to relate, process, or fathom solving them.

Sixteen million people are living with XX. I have no clue what 16 million people means. It’s a big number, but the impact is lost because you can’t identify with it. It’s seems too big to solve.  Many organizations are taking the big number, making it smaller, making it digestible: 1 in 5 Americans have XX.  One in five is easier to understand, I can relate to five people.  But, it’s still a number.  Which are more impactful stats or stories?

The Heath brothers tackle this topic in their book.  They share a study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.  These researchers wanted to know if people feel the same as Mother Teresa.  Turns out most people are like Mother Teresa.  When making a charitable donation, the group given a story about an individual who needed their help gave twice as much as the group given a bunch of statistics.   Check out their book to get the full story; it’s an easy and fun read. Plus, I’m sure you will find a few ideas to improve your marketing efforts.

Marketing your programs is the key to increasing revenue.  If you want more people to fundraise and participate in our events you need to market to them.  You need to tell them about yourself.  They’re not just going to come to you.  You need to be proactive.

What do you think?  Are you talking to your audience in stories or stats?


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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