Friday, June 13, 2014

Facts and Figures: Your Appeal to Reason

If you're making a claim ("We save the world!") you need to supply some evidence. Some actual facts. Something that isn't up to interpretation.

A lot of us didn't get into the nonprofit sector because we're terribly excited about numbers, let's be real. It's a sector dominated by people who are really into social services, social science, social justice, all that good, squishy save the world business.

As you saw in my posts about the appeal to emotion, squishy can be a good thing. Writing that provides good touchy-feely-warm feelings connects with your reader. But remember, man does not take action by squish alone.

In addition to providing an emotional experience, you also need to give your supporters some...reasons. Actual reasons. Why should they give to you? Why is handing over their money to you a good idea, and not a great big waste? What, exactly, are you doing with it?

This is where your facts come in. Talk about how many people you serve, the stats on the impact you've made, and the reality of the problems you're facing. Explain just what it is you do, and why it's necessary to do it. Supply evidence. Crunch some numbers.

This doesn't have to be boring, and with some stylistic skill, it doesn't even have to be jarring. Take a look at these infographics...a sneaky way to lay some serious facts down on your audience.

What do you think is the most compelling fact about your organization?
Look at all these facts, so charmingly displayed.