The purpose of your website is not to tell people things, but to demonstrate how you have the answer to their questions or solutions to their problems. In other words, we’re trying to show people why they should give us money. This is especially true if you are a non-profit. The problem that non-profits are solving, by the way, is that we want to feel we are generous, kind, connected people who are making a difference in the world and with out lives.  Our question is how can we make a difference if we can’t dedicate our lives to working for a cause? The answer is to give money (and occasionally our time) for causes we feel are worthy.

How does a non-profit demonstrate that they can solve out problem? Here’s a marvelous example of showing, instead of simply telling:

The video has gone viral on the web and contributions are pouring in. How could they not be with a such a heartwarming story? Hope for Paws did several things right.

  1. First, they focused on a single rescue. Behavioral economics has shown that we have trouble relating to large numbers, but can connect with an individual. Research has consistently demonstrated that contributions and general support is less when a request focuses on the plight of hundreds or thousands, but goes up when the focus is on the plight of a specific person or animal in need who represents the larger issue.
  2. They gave the dog a name and an identity. It’s Sonya, the Google Maps dog, not just a street dog.
  3. They showed the hard work and expense involved in effecting a rescue. The process, including the emotional process of gaining Sonya’s trust.
  4. They showed a result. We saw Sonya before, we learned about the physical and psychological toll of her neglect, and see her respond to the Hope for Paws organization’s care and compassion.

In slightly alternative approach can be found at Big Cat Rescue. They demonstrate not only the amount of work, and expensive involved in caring for big cats. Big cats are scary. No one thinks of them as defenseless like a household pet or farm animal. So showing these rescued big cats in a way that makes us smile evokes a sense of warmth and connection.

Does it have to be a video? Of course not. But visuals and stories of actual lives affected will always beat financial reports and statistics. Even if you are planning to include the numbers, make certain you make them relevant through an individual success story — with images!

If you have any questions, you should consider want a website review, presentation or consultation for you organization.

And if you found this information useful, please share it with others. Thank you!