The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to tell a story: A person, a door, a bed, and a home

I’m a big fan of the 100,000 homes campaign by Common Ground. Its advocacy on behalf of the homeless is wonderful work.

This week, they sent me their new video.

Here’s what I love: the storytelling, person by person, that shows how much power we have to turn around a life – our own, or that of another person. As for the intruding statistics and numbers, I wish they’d stopped trying to take a starring role. I understand it’s the 100,000 homes campaign and that the countdown has significance, but there are more numbers than people.

The good news is the people are so compelling, they push the numbers away to the far corners of our minds, and we remember what matters. Like Cato, literally jumping for joy in his sunlit home. I will never forget that image.

Bravo to a truly inspiring video with a nearly audible heartbeat of humanity. I love your work, 100,000 homes.

Watch the video and remember — we always have 4 questions to answer. Cato’s picture speaks to them all in a split second. So does Bulmon’s impossibly large smile. Always show:

1. Why me? by connecting emotionally.
2. What for? by showing the tangible change at stake.
3. Why now? by instilling urgency of action.
4. Who says? by using the right messengers.

People, not numbers, answer these questions best.

My favorite part of this message is the way it handles #4. The true stars of the video are the people in their new homes. They are the messengers, just as they should be.


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Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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