With the upcoming NFP Tweetup theme being content, and since I’m reading the excellent book Free by Chris Anderson (outlining how giving stuff away online is making many corporations a ton of money), here’s some thoughts on charity content.
What is content?
To me, content is any video, audio or text that paints a vivid picture of a charity’s outputs, usually online. The content is free, easily accessible and shareable.
The very best content isn’t just shareable – it demands the user share it, because it’s so very awesome.
Why it’s important
People don’t remember what you did – they remember how you made them feel. So our content must provoke a strong emotional reaction – outrage, warmth, inspiration, sadness. Every charity’s work is infused with this emotion at some level. And it’s that emotion that gets our marathon runners out of bed to run 26 miles for us.
So we have to show them – not tell them, SHOW them – what emotions our work create in the world. And nothing brings the emotion, the power of what you do to life like the words, pictures and video of those who benefit from your mission.
Two great examples
Here’s a letter from a child to her dad. Dad is in prison. Storybook Dads made it possible for him to read his daughter a bedtime story.
Here’s a video from Charity:Water. It’s a review of 2011, but pretty much every video they do is equally beautiful and inspiring.
As the internet becomes ever more distilled to its essential elements, I believe we aren’t far from a situation where every charity’s homepage contains only the most essential links, with a massive video, letter or audio recording dominating the page (especially when mobile dominates). The 90 seconds it takes to consume the content will create the emotional conviction in the visitors that will act as the foundation for everything other way they interact with you. Then, blammo – you’ve got ’em.
Looking forward to more examples at NFP Tweetup of content packing an equally personal punch.