Now You’ve Read It All: Think Small
Today, our nation and our world face a lot of “big picture” problems.
Global warming is melting our polar ice caps. Major wars rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous other spots around the world. The fear of terrorism is at an all-time high. AIDS and other epidemics threaten to kill millions. And throngs of people across the world die every day from starvation.
Nonprofit organizations are rising to the challenge by educating the public, organizing support and raising revenue to address these major problems. And while these organizations need to focus on the “big picture” in most of their public-education efforts, often they should do the opposite in their fundraising campaigns. In other words, and in a reversal of an often used phrase, they need to “see the trees, rather than the forest.”
“What is he blabbering about?” you might be asking right about now. Here’s what I’m trying to convey.
Often, nonprofit organizations focus their fundraising communications on such massively big problems that the potential donor believes that no amount of his support will help. This is what I refer to as a “drop in a bucket” scenario.
Here’s a fictional example of how an environmental group addressing global warming might, in fact, create this kind of situation:
Global warming is rapidly heating our planet. A huge hole has opened in our ozone layer. Polar ice caps are melting away. Chunks of ice the size of Texas have split away from Antarctica. Current coastlines will begin to disappear as water from the melting ice drowns our coastal cities. Millions of people will be displaced or die from the resulting change in weather patterns.
Please send us $15 to stop this catastrophe.
See what I mean? A recipient who reads this literally could envision a drop of water plopping into a huge bucket … because that’s how he’ll view his relatively small contribution in comparison to the problem it’s supposed to address. It will discourage many potential supporters from even addressing the subject.