You know an emotional hook is the best way to engage your target audiences at first, followed by reasoning, asks, etc. The heart leads, with the head following. That’s because all of us can easily relate – emotionally – to human stories and those pull us in and make us more open minded to the information or ask that follows.
But those of you whose organizations deal with difficult and emotionally-weighted issues — such as rape, eating disorders or domestic violence– have a real challenge in crafting that emotional hook. For many, the issues you’re diving into and making better for those who go through them are issues that folks just don’t want to talk about. Eyes wide shut!
The Challenge – Building a Base around a Difficult Issue
Jill Worrall, a nonprofit consultant I met recently — at theMarketing ByAssociation conference where I keynoted in Februrary — posed her huge “difficult challenge” to me and I hope you can help me guide her: Jill works with SAFE (SExual Abuse Family Education), an organization focused on reintegrating sexual offenders (including pedophiles) into society, and she finds it incredibly difficult to engage her target audiences in the cause. The issue makes them squeamish, so how could they possibly support the cause?
My immediate reaction to hearing about sex offenders is revulsion. What’s yours?
My Recommendation – Please Add Yours
My recommendation to Jill is to focus the organization’s messaging on the positive changes in the world our children live in, that will be made by the organization’s work with sexual offenders. That way the lead (and emotional hook) is positive), and the strategy (education, therapy, etc.) comes second. It’s far more likely that folks will get engaged through taking this approach.
In addition, she should:
- Focus on the likely values match between SAFE and its prospective supporters — a community where children can live safely, and parents can relax.
- Talk about success stories, focusing on the after.
- More ideas here: Communicating on Difficult Issues
What guidance can you share with Jill?
Please comment here to ensure she gets it! Thank you.
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