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Contrast and “Aha!” Moments

The problem / impact storytelling technique is powerful because it creates “contrast” and allows donors to have their own “aha!” moments.

Ralph Coverdale’s quote from his book Risk Thinking explains:

There is no perception unless there is contrast.

Everything we know and understand comes to us as a result of contrast.  We read black ink on white paper . . . we fully understand the first community we lived in when we move to the second . . . and we really appreciate our own cars when we must drive rentals.

The problem / impact technique creates contrast and generates perception!

By using contrast, we allow the donor to have her own “aha!” moment!

The “aha” creates:

  • Insight and understanding of the problem
  • Appreciation for the impact created
  • Empathy to take action and invest in programs to create more change
  • Interest in the programs generating the change

“Contrast” storytelling can be “scaled.”

It can be a simple impact speech of two sentences:

  • Did you know caring parents in our community can’t help their children with homework because they have very limited ability to speak and read English and are working multiple jobs to make ends meet?
  • As a result of our work, these parents are now proficient in English, working in higher-paying jobs and home evenings increasing their fluency by helping their children with homework!

Or, it can be the framework for developing an entire case for support!

And don’t worry, contrast storytelling works for any type of cause and organization, including arts and cultural groups.  If you can describe the problem your organization was created to change and the impact your work creates, you can benefit from this technique.

Let me warn you – storytelling in this unique way may take some practice.  It’s hard to not talk about our organizations and programs.  It may take some practice and discipline to stick to talking about the problem and impact only.  That said, it’s well worth the effort!

To learn more about contrast storytelling:

  • Find my “impact speech” template here.
  • Sign up for one of the Case Statement Workshops I teach at CNM Connect in Fort Worth or Dallas.  Participants develop and present their case statement outline using the problem / impact storytelling technique during this one-day course.

Do your stories create “aha” moments and generate empathy?

Email me at carole@rylanderassociates.com or find more about our services at www.rylanderassociates.co