“To really measure impact, we need something in addition to beneficiary outcomes.” (World Bank)
It is thanks to non-government organizations (NGOs) that so much important work for advancing social, environmental, cultural, and legal change is actuated. Indeed, NGOs epitomize advocacy for a better, safer, fairer world.
Since NGOs are typically nonprofit organizations that gain funding, at least in part, from private sources, one of the key mandates for the individuals who drive the mission is to effectively demonstrate impact, so as to secure ongoing funding.
Whether the goal is to improve the condition of the environment, protect human rights, or to care for the disadvantaged, no NGO can sustain its activity without being able to show convincingly how it is contributing to its beneficiaries.
Inspiring donors to give and reinforcing credibility for projects requires a deep engagement, crafting a message that resonates, and articulating a story that drives action.
This is no easy task.
So, what can NGOs do to succeed at inspiring others to give?
Let’s take a look.
1. The NGO’s “new bliss”
“If you communicate an idea in a way that resonates, change will happen.” (Nancy Duarte)
Focusing exclusively on quantitative results in the effort to demonstrate impact can only go so far.
To inspire donors to give, to drive action and secure engagement, NGOs need to be able to reach their target audience on a much deeper, emotional level.
Imagine you could rally up support like Martin Luther King or Steve Jobs. Well, you can! In fact, there’s even an ‘algorithm’ of sorts that can be implemented rather easily. This algorithm has been uncovered by Nancy Duarte, American writer, speaker, CEO, and author of the seminal book, “The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.”
In her famous Ted talk on the “Secret Structure of Great Talks,” she posits that every great talk or presentation (or demonstration of impact, in our case) has the same structure.
She studied and deconstructed, word by word, the famous “I have a dream” speech of Martin Luther King, Steve Job’s presentation at the original iPhone launch, and others.
Following her research, Nancy uncovered a similar pattern that can be found in all the famous speeches she studied. Namely, in each one – the speaker first presents the problem with the status quo, then presents how the world could be if this problem were to be solved (“the new bliss”), and then follows a rhythm of revealing another aspect of the problem, and again how great life would be if it were solved, through several iterations. And then finally the ‘new bliss’ (the world better off) is fully revealed and how it will change lives for the better forever.
Nancy Duarte’s Shape of a Great Presentation (source: TED)
So how can NGOs take this idea and turn it into a powerful demonstration of impact?
There are two options:
Option #1: ‘before and after’
In telling the story of your impact, you can start out by showing what life was like for your beneficiaries before your NGO began to champion their cause. Then, show how your organization has brought on a dramatic change.
Go back to showing what life was like before and then show another change that you have made possible. Do this for several iterations, each time showing a different problem contrasted by a different positive change.
This back and forth of striking contrasts can be very powerful for engaging donors.
Option #2: beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries
This option represents a similar approach. The difference is that instead of showing what life was like before and how it is now, you can show what life is like for non-beneficiaries in a similar situation versus what life is like for the beneficiaries whose lives have been changed thanks to your NGO.
2. Tell a personal tale
Another approach to demonstrating impact in a way that goes beyond just delineating outcomes, is to share the story of a specific beneficiary. This is the case study approach, which has the potential to inspire empathy and resonate deeply with donors.
The story should be well researched and documented, but mostly it should be well narrated from a perspective that is very human and deeply personal.
To capture attention right off the bat, you can even start your beneficiary’s story with an emotionally engaging note, a surprising fact, or even a shocking statement about the state of the subject of our story before the NGO came into their lives.
3. Start with your why
Our third approach is to start the demonstration with your ‘why.’
This is based on the famous TED talk of Simon Sinek about “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”
In this talk, Simon shares with us the power of ‘why,’ and that people “don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
One of his examples comes from Apple (as is the case with Nancy Duarte). To illustrate, Simon asks his audience – which would inspire you to buy, pitch #1 (based on what Apple does) or pitch #2 (based on why Apple does what it does)?
Pitch #1: “We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”
Pitch #2: “With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Which do you find more inspiring? Pitch #2, of course!
So, when reaching out to your donors, share with them your vision, the reason why you get up in the morning, your passion, your inspiration.
When you are inspired, you will inspire.
Make it come to life with video
Whether you choose to talk about before-and-after, beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, or your inspiring ‘why,’ clearly – the best way to demonstrate impact is to show it, with video.
This is where Wochit can help. With Wochit Studio, our cloud-based video creation platform, anyone and everyone in the NGO, regardless of whether or not they have a background or knowledge in video editing, can create high-quality, professional-grade videos that demonstrate impact in a deeply engaging way that resonates with donors and inspires them to act.
The platform offers a straightforward UX that simplifies editing, smart editing features with many options for customizations, an extensive pre-licensed library of 200 million images and videos, and myriad built-in templates.
So, there’s nothing stopping you now – let the impact demonstrations begin!