Saturday, 24 April 2010

From Threepenny opera to £5 per month direct debit..

I like opera..though I don't go nearly as often as I'd like. But as I was looking at the English National Opera website this weekend, I was struck by something.

No, it wasn't a great piece of functionality or something whizzy (though I am sure there are examples of both) - it was something much more simple and dare I say obvious than that - a chance to listen to some of the music in the featured opera.

Now what's the big deal? Well actually I've not seen Tosca yet and for me there was a chance to
listen to three little snippets.. an opportunity to get a sense of the experience I was thinking of buying into. For others who have seen Tosca many times before it's an opportunity to remind them of why they should see this particular production and pay £80+ for a ticket.

Either way, music and performance is what they are selling, so it makes sense to showcase it and use it as a way to persuade or remind an opera goer of what they would be hearing on the night.

Just out of curiosity I then randomly visited several charity websites - the reason really was to see whether any of them had something similar that was essentially offering a 'preview' of what supporters could get /achieve from supporting the cause in an immediate and easily digestible format i.e. without reading the entire website.

Though there was some great content on display: video, photos, stories, games and campaigns very few focused on giving the supporter a feeling of what they personally could be making possible, achieving, receiving and feeling from supporting charity x - all in a bite size chunk.

Of course summing up a cause and giving a prospective supporter a role in that support in a clear and immediate way (whatever the medium) is probably more challenging than selling an opera. But my point is that when we are producing content for anything, that we do so with the supporter in mind rather than merely relying on it being a moving story, or photo.

Without contextualising the content into something relevant to the people reading your communication or visiting your site - it will just remain a great story or great example of your work - it won't bring the supporter any closer to that work or set the scene for the great experience you offer (hopefully) and that you want supporters to buy into for £xx per month.

That's the challenge - a supporter focused elevator pitch - though one I think is well worth the time and thought to crack.


  1. That's a great post...As I was reading it I kept thinking..but what would it look like, at least Opera can have those lovely audio examples. But then you summed it up beautifully...A supporter focussed elevator pitch...brilliant


  2. Thank you for reading, Conor and for the lovely comment.

    I have to say when I was writing I initially struggled with what it is a charity could produce and as you say what it would look like without be the length of Lord of the Rings - managed to distill it in my own mind..eventually. :o)

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. yes agree nice thoughts - i wonder if the upcoming new social network project See the Difference might fulfil your brief of a supporter focussed elevator pitch.


  4. Hi Raj

    Thanks for reading and for following. :o)

    See the difference is a very interesting idea and its name says what people want ultimately -proof of efficacy and impact.

    At the heart of all charities is great stories - I think we just need to be better telling them with a view to a supporter / prospective supporter angle in terms of role in change and genuine engagement. And we can all do it better - whether supporters want to engage entirely on-line with sites like see the difference or not.

    Thanks again.