A Love Story in Words and Pictures
Most days, as I sort through my mail, I hope something surprises me amid the sea of old standards most everyone relies on. It's hard to get excited about another handful of white No. 10 packages, although yes, they have their place, and yes, for most mailers "boring" usually works better than something "design-y" or "creative."
I tend to toss the lot of sameness into a basket to open and look through later, but there are a few rare exceptions — like everything I receive from Best Friends Animal Society. Those mailings are like a treat, an irresistible feast of cuteness and an infallible pick-me-up.
The obvious: What's not to love?
Best Friends' mail looks like a photo album and reads like a storybook in the very best way. Yes, it works because of what the organization is and what it does — give homeless pets happy, fulfilled lives. But there's something to learn from it no matter what your mission, because stories help make the most compelling case for support for all kinds of organizations, including those with zero cute factor.
Stories engage us. They help us relate to others with whom we may share little or nothing in common. Stories stir emotions, and giving decisions begin in the heart. So it's wise to pay attention to how different stories are crafted and the use of small details bring them to life.
One Best Friends appeal tells the story of Rhubarb, a pup seized in a cruelty case who wasn't only hungry and neglected but also pretty much a train wreck of a dog. He needed heart surgery and a custom-made cart to help him walk, along with physical therapy and round-the-clock care.
The entirety of page one is Rhubarb's story told in long form, how he was thriving at first, but then took a turn for the worse until, "It seemed there was nothing that could be done. It was time to start saying goodbye. Rhubarb was now officially a hospice case here at Best Friends.