The SuperStat

Donors invest because the work of our institutions makes both logical and emotional sense to them.

Logically, donors have to recognize and agree that giving to our institution is a wise and productive investment.  Their minds need to agree, “Yes, this makes sense!”  Emotionally, donors need to feel that our institution’s work makes a qualitative difference in the lives of others.  Their hearts need to whisper, “I am deeply moved!”

It’s part brain, part heart.

Most institutions can easily and concisely make the emotional case.  “We transform lives!”  “We meet the most pressing needs!”  Or, even, “We save lives!”  Moving stories and anecdotes are well-known to staff members and quickly articulated when making the case for support.

By comparison, the logical component of the case is not nearly as well-formed.  Institutions will either fail to provide donors with any logical basis for supporting their cause (usually because they don’t have the outcome data to show they are making a meaningful difference on the problem they claim to be addressing) , or, they inundate donors with facts and figures and other logical arguments with little regard to the cohesiveness of the presentation.  Just throw a bunch of percentages and numbers out and see if anything sticks.

Here’s a different approach:  Create the SuperStat.  The SuperStat is the one stat (or theme of statistics) that drives home the primary logical value of your institution.  It is concise, it is compelling, and it is clear.  It makes sense.  “95% of our graduates get into their graduate school of choice.”  “The #1 rated heart-care hospital in the state.”

With the SuperStat, the logical case becomes as clear and understandable as the emotional case.  And the link between a donor’s heart and head is completed.

1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Once again, Jason has hit “the nail on the head” with his wonderful short blog. This column captures so much of what makes a good organization (and its development arm) great. Jason can also help you identify that “superstat” if you need help doing so.

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