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Show Don't Tell.

Every day, friends, family, businesses, nonprofit organizations and the media are competing for our attention.

We’re drowning in messages.

Many never manage to catch our attention. The messages are disconnected or repetitive or so uninteresting that we tune them out without even realizing it. A company telling you their product or service is good? Snore. An organization dumping a pile of data on a screen? No thanks.

But the messages that do grab us? The pictures they paint, the journeys they take us on, the emotions they draw out of us? Those are the messages that stick. They engage our brains and grab our hearts.

And it all boils down to showing vs. telling. It’s about the “why.”

We’re human, and we long to connect with each other and share emotional experiences. When an organization tells you about fundraising efforts to help 3,000 kids in the community, it feels sterile. Statistical. Distant. Too big. But when that same organization lets one of those 3,000 kids tell her own story about how her life changed because of the work that nonprofit does? Now, that creates a lasting impression.

Think about what catches your attention over the course of a day. What messages stick with you? What do you share or retweet or forward to someone? Did something make you cry? Laugh?

All that makes a difference. The messages are memorable, so they stick.

The audience was taken on a journey instead of being told about the destination.

Seeing and hearing the story of an organization’s impact is the secret sauce to connecting with an audience. Data doesn’t touch hearts the way stories do. Data leaves the audiences to interpret and draw their own conclusions. Stories show them the way – and the why.

Video is the perfect medium for storytelling. It’s effective because it stimulates multiple senses. Images, words, and sounds swirl together to connect the audience’s heart and mind to everything you want them to know about you. Science even shows that multiple regions of your brain are engaged while you’re watching a video. And it’s efficient, economical and effective – you can pack so much information into a multisensory experience that you get a lot of bang for your production buck.

Think about what you want your clients or supporters to know – and feel – about your organization. What can you show them to make your message meaningful and memorable? You know your organization best; you see and experience the impact of your amazing work. How can you help your audience see it too?


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