Why I think gloom and doom backfire

first_imgThe main caption says ENDING SLAVE LABOR IS NOT THIS EASY. There is a tiny ILO logo in the upper right asking you to visit the ILO’s site to find out “how to help.”Love the handcuffs. Hate the message. Here’s why: I feel powerless to help, because it’s not easy to do anything about slave labor. The ILO even admits as much. How can I have faith they will overcome the problem, much less believe that I can have a role?What if the message instead said, “You just took the first step to ending slave labor. Now take another one. Visit www…” I feel the same way about apocalyptic messages about global warming. I feel powerless to stop the flooding of the world. Ask me to buy different light bulbs, however, or take some other action that is feasible, and I will.Go negative with caution. You must give people the feeling that they have the power to help, not the feeling they are helpless or that your issue is intractable. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! That’s my advice to the folks running the new blog about preventing a flu pandemic (check it out and read Nedra’s stuff, she’s smart). If you scare with scale, you’ll lose. If you empower with feasible steps, you’ll make social change.On this theme today, Donor Power weighs in on puppies vs. Darfur. One face on a problem moves us, millions overwhelm us. It’s not always rational, but it’s the way it is. Tell people what’s wrong, then show them they can set things right. I’ve been disappointed lately with a number of PSA that were gripping, catchy, emotional… and yet fell flat on the call to action because they couldn’t move off their doom and gloom message.Here’s a good example, from Houtlust (which is a very good blog for PSA inspiration, by the way):last_img