Jordan Ogren

August 9, 2021

The power of telling a story of ONE.

Imagine you run a nonprofit striving to eradicate poverty in the United States.

How would you get people to donate money to your cause? 

Do you share the statistics of the 15,439 people you've already helped? 
Or do you share how over 1.7 million people live in poverty?

While those may be impressive numbers, they're unlikely to impact someone emotionally.

How do you know that, Jordan?

Try to conceptualize in your mind 1.7 million people. 

Do they fit in three NFL stadiums or four? Maybe five?

How are you doing in visualizing that many people? My mind can't visualize that many people.

And if you can't visualize it-put yourself in the story-there is little emotional impact.

I doubt you've felt any emotion reading those numbers above. I didn't.

But let's say I told you a specific story about Allison:

Allison is a 21-year-old single parent of two who works at a local bar and grill. She was barely getting by when COVID hit and ended her job.

She still had two boys to feed and take care of. This led her to do the one thing she told herself she would never do.

Allison was raised by a single mother who faced similar challenges. Her mother eventually had to begin selling her body to pay for rent and groceries.

It was after seeing man after man come into their small apartment that Allison realized what was happening. As an eleven-year-old girl, she vowed to go to college, never to have to do what her mother did.

Fast forward to high school, and Allison was struggling to pass classes. While her mother found a job, she also found a new vice: Heroin.

Allison never made it to college. She's in the same place her mother was. And now, she has to sell herself to make ends meet.

What if Allison was your daughter? Or your sister? Would you help her out?

If ten people donate $50, we can help Allison get educated and step out of poverty for good. Will you lend a helping hand?

Okay, that might have put you to sleep. Or it put you within a story that made you feel emotions toward Allison.

Hopefully, it provided enough emotions to take action and help her out.

Allison is a construct of all 1.7 million people in poverty. By telling her story and creating an emotional connection, more people in poverty will be helped.

The lesson: Instead of using large numbers or generalities, tell the story of one person.

Stories move people; numbers don't. 

Tell the story of one.

🧠 // JO