At the heart of every successful event, is a successful special appeal. And at the heart of every successful special appeal, is a compelling story with characters whom the audience can relate to and care about. Basic Rights Oregon got this spot on when choosing their most recent special appeal film subjects, Paul Rummell and Ben West.
Both Paul and Ben were eloquent speakers who were willing to open up their lives to Basic Rights Oregon in order to help the audience understand how marriage equality would affect their lives in very real and understandable terms. They spoke of building their family and taking care of their child and, also, taking care of each other. They spoke both of their struggle to find acceptance in their extended family and the community that had embraced them fully. They fearlessly shared issues that all families face and other issues that most families will never have to face. All of these things that they shared spoke directly to everyone in the crowd, demonstrating the importance of marriage equality on a small scale so that it could be more easily understood on a grand scale.
In just four short minutes of video, Paul and Ben were able to share an emotionally compelling story that resonated with the audience. They showed the audience members how they could insert themselves directly into their incredible story—by supporting Basic Rights Oregon, the audience would be supporting Paul and Ben. They were able to build an experience for the viewers, transporting them into the story. By choosing just the right people to tell just the right story, every non-profit can improve its fundraising dramatically.
All of the incredible storytelling and honesty in Paul and Ben’s story lead to an exceptionally successful appeal with energy and excitement increasing in the room all the way to the end. And Basic Rights Oregon raised significantly more than they had anticipated, allowing them to fight for families like Paul and Ben.
Thank you to Paul and Ben for sharing your lives with us all. And great job Basic Rights Oregon on another successful Oregonians Against Discrimination Business Leaders Lunch!