Ernest Hemingway started a trend of six-word stories with these riveting words:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
Stories told in just six words can be a powerful tool for your campaign. When you choose the right words, you can move donors with powerful, compelling soundbites.
What’s a Six-Word Story? Here, COVID Provides an Example
Today’s post was inspired by an article in this week’s NY Times, called The Pandemic in Six-Word Memoirs.
Some of my favorites from the Times article include:
Every day’s a bad hair day.
— Leigh Giza
Can’t smell the campfire on Zoom.
— Melanie Abrams
Eighth hour of YouTube. Send Help!
— Leela Chandra
Slowly turning into a technological potato.
— Jad Ammar
Cleaned Lysol container with Lysol wipe.
— Alex Wasser
And from my daughter:
Eager to go back to school.
— Zoe (age 13)
Why Just Six Words?
Every campaign needs a short story or a tagline, if you prefer. The idea is that in one, short statement, you can communicate the reason for your campaign.
Your six-word story goes at the top of a webpage, campaign brochure, video, and other campaign materials to communicate clearly, quickly, and concisely what your campaign is about.
But why so few words?
- People are busy
- Their time is precious
- They can only digest so much while being bombarded with so much other information
In these Twitter / Instagram days, we’re accustomed to getting information in bite-sized bits. Today, brevity reigns supreme.
How to Create a Six-Word Story for Your Campaign
Creating a six-word story is a great opportunity to engage your board members. You can do this in person or via Zoom in three simple steps.
- First, ask board members to come up with a list of words which describe your campaign and your organization. Have them write their list individually and then share a few words from each list with the larger group to make one long list.
- Next, break them into small groups of 2-4 people. (Try using the breakout function in Zoom if you’re meeting virtually.) Give them 8 minutes to come up with as many six-word stories about your organization and about your campaign as possible.
- Lastly, ask them to share their favorites with the larger group. Then decide which six-word stories resonate the most.
The Six-Word Story Campaign Challenge
So I’d like to challenge you and your board members to come up with one or more six-word stories to describe your campaign.
Your six-word story should evoke emotion, and if possible, paint a picture in the mind of your donors. Why should they care about your campaign?
Six-Word Story Examples
Save a dog; she’ll rescue you.
Finding a cure for my mom.
Feed the hungry, nourish a soul.
New school buildings help students soar.
Performing arts — more than a play.
After school programs keep kids safe.
YMCA: Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul.
Scholarships provide hope for future generations.
Remember — your goal is to get to the heart of what your donors need to know in one short statement. And, if possible, tease a compelling reason to learn more.
It’s Your Turn! Share a Six-Word Story Below
Share a six-word story about your campaign in the comments below. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!