Go Out and Tell Someone

“The gay activist Harvey Milk was once asked by a younger gay man what he could do to help the movement, and Harvey Milk said, ‘Go out and tell someone.’”

So begins a recent TED talk by Andrew Solomon, the author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity.

“Go out and tell someone.” That is exactly what I get to do almost every day.

I’ve told about how a woman running from violence in Rwanda sheltered in a church among dead bodies for nearly a week, covering her children with her own body, pretending to be dead.

I’ve told about how a little boy in Arkansas was found stuffing ketchup packets into his pockets at a summer meal site. He asked if it was okay, because he and his grandma used them to make tomato soup when there was nothing else left to eat.

I’ve told about a young woman who was afraid to go out at night on her college campus because she could not see well enough to find her way around. But then she participated in a clinical trial that restored her sight, and today she wants to travel the world and see everything she possibly can.

I share these examples to prove an important point – stories are powerful. That’s why they work so well in fundraising. Stories connect us to others and remind us of our common humanity. They make us feel.

I truly believe that stories have the power to change the world. As Andrew Solomon says later in his TED talk,

“There’s always somebody who wants to confiscate our humanity, and there are always stories that restore it. If we live out loud, we can trounce the hatred and expand everyone’s lives.”

As fundraisers and nonprofit professionals, we are privileged to hear incredible stories of courage, witness remarkable transformations, and, yes, actually see our efforts, however small they may seem, change the world.

So share those remarkable things with your donors—they want and deserve to feel the power and emotion of their impact. Let them know they truly are helping to change the world.

Go and tell someone. Live out loud. Share your stories.

– Posted by Lisa Swayze


<a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-50543p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00″>Jose Gil</a> / <a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00″>Shutterstock.com</a>

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