We’ve all heard the old saw that “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” It’s the guiding principle of public relations for those engaged in building support for humanitarian causes.
This article is about several issues facing journalists. How is this relevant to nonprofit storytelling or social cause marketing a business might be doing?
Because of 'compassion fatigue.' The article asks how to deal with it. As the author says, "Heart-rending anecdotes are like heroin—the first leads to more and more hair-raising anecdotes. How do we continue to move or inspire audiences subject to an endless parade of woe? (With worse woe?)"
Here are a few solutions:
- Make sure the parade of woe is part of a complete story arc where negative emotions are transformed into hope or other positive emotions.
- Make sure you include a call to action -- simple ways for people to participate to combat the overwhelm (and it doesn't have to be about donating)
- If you want to go even deeper, have the narrator share his/her take-away from the experience or how the experience has changed them, taught them something, or provided some insight.
Now journalists cannot incorporate all of the suggestions above. But a nonprofit or business can. I hope these ideas help!