National Geographic recently released a story that presented evidence of a newfound human ancestor: Homo naledi, whose bones are estimated to be 2 million to 2.8 million years old. This discovery literally requires textbooks to be rewritten. Yes, the sounds you hear are the groans of Ancient Civ teachers across the world who must change their lesson plans to incorporate this new finding.
When National Geographic released this incredible story, we knew how impactful it could be for fundraising. We also knew we would need to act fast and get the news out quickly to the membership base. Because, in the truest and most authentic sense, this finding could not have happened without the generous support of National Geographic’s Contributing Members.
Once we had the go-ahead, our team deftly presented the discovery in an immediate appeal, giving National Geographic Contributing Members early insider information about this exciting finding and thanking them for their support. Of course, we never miss an opportunity to connect the dots, so we also gave Members the opportunity to support other National Geographic projects like this one.
Good storytelling starts with a great mission. Using compelling and concrete stories to connect donors to important work like National Geographic’s validates the need for support and clearly illustrates how donors make a difference.
Emotionally compelling or intellectually challenging stories can have the same effect: They motivate donors to give and to feel great about the work they’re supporting. The remarkable discovery of Homo naledi does both.
Avalon is thrilled to work with clients like National Geographic, whose work doesn’t just produce amazing stories, but literally changes the way we understand our place in the world.