A few weeks ago, I was at a banquet for Care Net, an organization that provides an alternative to abortion. The “program” was a young woman who had chosen to visit the local office a few years ago at the time of an unwanted pregnancy and had been counseled on how to chose to give birth.
When her daughter was born, the organization made a professional, short video of her testimony. At the recent banquet, they played that video, then she got up and talked about her two-year-old daughter and the joy she had brought to the woman’s life. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
More than 400 people had attended the banquet (which is about 1 percent of the population of the city in which it was held) and opened their wallets to the cause. Looking at the statistics objectively, I thought they were able to rescue relatively few unborn children. Yet the outpouring of support was completely disproportionate. Why?
Because the appeal was very personal. Care Net was fortunate in being able to find a young woman with a personality that allowed her to speak well and to transcend any social barriers that might have existing in her life just a few years ago. Everyone in the room believed that this one success story was worth whatever it might cost. And if they could contribute to two or three or a dozen more like it, they weren’t going to hesitate in paying the price.
Do people in your community care, truly care, about what you’re doing? Is there a passion that is transferred from you to the public? Do you feel that passion yourself?
In reaching out to your community for your cause, you need to make it personal. And the face you put on it must be one that people will want to care about. Our little community started a couple of years ago to have its own Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research and support. Though I was able to see the tremendous amount of work and networking that went on behind the scenes, it seemed to many that the local effort went from zero to ninety miles an hour overnight.
Why? Because the faces of cancer survivors, those who have benefited from research, are very personal and compelling. And almost everyone knows someone who has survived or succumbed. This personal approach, using large groups of participants to reach an even larger audience one at a time, worked well. This community gave on a per capita scale that no larger city could hope to approach.
Look around your community at successful organizations. How personal are their appeals? Whether you’re seeking volunteers, contributions or just recognition, see if you can make your “face” more appealing, more compelling. Keep it real, to be sure, but make certain that your passion is passed on to those you’re trying to reach.