21 Apr The power of story: hats off to Capt. Tom Moore
This week I have chosen to celebrate the extraordinary contribution made by 99-year-old UK World War Two veteran, Captain Tom Moore, who in two weeks raised over £25 million for the NHS. You’ll have no doubt read about his amazing feat. He originally set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 lengths of his Bedfordshire garden before 30 April, the date of his 100th birthday. Armed with the grit and determination you might expect from an officer who served in India and Burma, Moore completed his 100th lap two weeks early with a guard of honour from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment by his side.
Within 24 hours of his walk on 8th April, he had raised £70,000 for NHS Charities Together, and as media coverage and news of his challenge spread, donations poured in via Just Giving, breaking the platform’s record for the largest total ever raised through a single campaign.
What I love about Tom’s determination to do his bit to help is that it demonstrates resilience in difficult times, and the hope of better days to come: “At the end of the day we shall all be OK. The sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away,” he said on BBC Breakfast. And the reason his campaign has been so successful is that it’s an emotive, compelling and heart-warming story of an outstanding individual making a difference. With Covid-19 sweeping across the UK, putting enormous pressure on the health system and frontline workers, and leading to more than 16,000 deaths, Tom’s 100th Birthday Walk for the NHS has struck a chord with many across the UK, opening hearts and minds, and giving people a tangible way to make a positive contribution and support the NHS. It’s a wonderful demonstration of a clear alignment between cause, community and end beneficiary.
When we write a case for support or a grant application, we have the opportunity to tell the story of our organisation and our projects and to weave in what lies at the heart of what we do – people and planet. Yes, we need the hard data, the facts and figures, but we also need the human stories that donors and funders can relate to – it’s that old adage: people give to people, not causes. And while some foundations and application formats don’t allow for much narrative, you can still tell stories in your reporting. Some of the richest material and evidence of outcomes is in the case studies and stories of change from your beneficiaries. These may be delivered as written stories, video or audio clips. The key is to make sure you are capturing these stories and tapping into this seam of gold.