What is the magic moment in fundraising?
The “magic moment,” as I call it, is when the audience stops being an audience – and becomes a part of the story. Total involvement. Total engagement.
I am so passionately in agreement with this sentiment that it makes my toes curl. But what Green goes on to describe is something short of total involvement and total engagement:
The greatest filmmakers, novelists and playwrights have all mastered the creation of the moment – that singular page or scene where the audience’s attention gets pulled in so close – as if through a microscope….
Let me share three moments we’ve written for our clients that had magic in them:
- The surgeon describing the feel of a beating human heart in his hands – and the awful responsibility and power he knew he held over life and death in that moment.
- The international aid worker who describes the faint – almost inaudible – sound of a starving baby’s cry in the hours before that baby dies.
- The woman reaching for the phone on a Sunday afternoon to call her sister – as she’s done for years – only to remember that her sister is lost to cancer.
This is great copy writing, no doubt. But even an enraptured audience…
…is still an audience.
In real fundraising magic, the donor becomes part of the story. Literally.
Think of Habitat For Humanity. The engagement doesn’t come from the donor being able to smell the sawdust as they read the mesmerizingly moving appeal for funds. It comes from Habitat stuffing a hammer into your chest and challenging you to build a home, because we each have a personal say in making sure no one goes homeless in our sphere of influence.
That’s why Habitat is one of the fastest growing and most recession-proof charities of our time.
When the donor is transformed into the actor and the nonprofit is transformed into the platform for action–when, in other words, the donor smells like sawdust and doesn’t just smell sawdust in his mind’s nose, so to speak–that’s when fundraising magic has happened.