Hollywood Sign

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You have to make people care. No big surprise.

But you can’t make people care about your organization. Organizations are made of brick and wood.

The secret is: you need to make people care about themselves.

But don’t people already care about themselves?, you ask.

Yes and no.

Yes, they want food, sleep, and so forth.

No, they often forget what really makes them tick.

But don’t different things make people tick? How can you make tens of thousands — even millions — of people care about one thing?

Answer: Look to Hollywood. See how many films there are, and yet so few different plots?  And so few universal themes? There can be almost limitless specific desires and ways to get them: Love. A new job. A new girlfriend. A parent’s attention. The middleweight championship. To go home again, or to have a home for the first time.

Hollywood is a big deal because Hollywood understands that, even though some people want a motorcycle and others a Barbie doll, all people want one single thing.

People want to feel good (or better) about themselves. Name one movie whose main character doesn’t want to find, make, or keep self-esteem, and I’ll show you a really, really unusual movie (Koyaanisqatsi is what you’re thinking, right? But even that long tone poem, whose name means “life out of balance,” can make you feel as though you want to set things to rights again.)

Back to fundraising. No matter what you’re raising money for, if you can make people feel the satisfaction of helping, or the empathy of seeing someone else be helped (as they would like to, should the shoe be on the other foot), you’re on your way to success. Find that one thing within your organization’s mission that will make your audience feel warm, proud, or happy.

And that’s whether you make movies, speeches, web sites, or anything else you expect the public to respond to.

How to make people laugh, cry, & write checks

by susan time to read: 1 min
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