It is Saturday 4th January, I am listening to BBC Radio 4 – a programme called “a small matter of hope”. AWESOME. Listen to it with your fundraising hat on and think “what is the best story telling?”.
The programme has nothing to do with fundraising but everything to do with story telling. The programme considers the role of the media in influencing how we feel about progress or the lack of it. Think of your charity as the media – or as a news channel. The media focuses on bad news – never good news – but their “alerts” to bad situations result in good news. Our memories recall bad news better than good news. There is an optimism gap. Our own lives are optimistic, but the world issues are perceived pessimistically. The media runs on a bad news bias (and perhaps thereby undermining the difference charities have made in the last 50 or 100 years). Does your charity focus on the good or the bad?
Should we focus more on positive outcomes?
How do we feel about key global issues such as the environment, malaria, poverty etc etc? Negatively. And yet:
- there are now 50 species of fish swimming in the Thames when decades ago there were none.
- Extreme poverty is down 75% in the last 30 years. It is now less than 10% of the population
- Cancer and heart survival rates are growing fast
- Rate of war deaths has fallen by a factor of 20 since the 1950’s
- Deaths from malaria are in record decline
- Child mortality is at an all-time low
Do we celebrate in the change or focus on the current negatives?
To quote the presenter (abbreviated): “We are living in the greatest decade of improved living standards in human history (Read the Spectator – final issue of 2019). It is good and about to get better still”.
A quick summary of some of the main points you could think about: BREXIT supporters are mainly nostalgic and think “the world was better in the good old days”. REMAINERS are, we assume, more future focused and global in their views. Which converts donors to upgrade and leave a legacy? Pessimism or optimism?
Our memories play tricks and nostalgia clouds the truth. We forget how much has changed for the better and we are often stuck on the rut of “£3 can save a child from Y”. Perhaps we should focus on thanking donors on the difference they have already made. So, what about “how your past £3 has saved Y lives” and you can save more lives?
Richard (an optimist)