A Giraffe, the Karamojong and a Statistic

Perhaps you heard of Marius earlier this year, or at least heard of his death. It was well publicized throughout the world.

I first heard about Marius through the Freakonomics podcast that featured him. The podcast questioned whether we humans care more about animals suffering than we do about human suffering. The same week, hundreds of people were brutally butchered in Syria, but Marius received more attention.

Freaknomics asks why we have “selective outrage”? Why we get so upset over some things, and not over others. But I think there’s a bigger story here. One that I learned from, among others, Jeff Brooks, fundraising guru. And it’s in his latest book, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications. Jeff writes:

“If you want people to give, you have to touch them deeply. And to do that, you must tell stories. The human mind isn’t moved by facts. We forget facts. We fail to internalize them. We miss their meaning and importance.

“But stories help us make sense of the world. Stories move us to action.”

Later he explains further:

“If you want action, you must help donors feel the pain of hunger by seeing it play out in one life — then another and another. That’s how you’ll get them working with you to solve big problems.”

You can see that in action in Chapter 5 of his book, “Persuade with Story, not Statistics.” And that’s where you will meet the Karamojong. Great story!

It’s your turn: write a compelling story in your next communication. If you need some advice, ask one of the masters, Jerry Huntsinger. But get to writing!