In today’s post, HBG’s Data Insight lead Steve Grimes continues the discussion on how we begin insight work in fundraising. As prospect development professionals, our work in this area puts us on a parallel journey with frontline fundraisers: how do we use the information that’s in front of us to tell a compelling story that motivates people to action? Today Steve helps us take those next steps. ~Helen
I’ve always had a hard time truly engaging with novels. Beyond the risk of embarking on a story with a slow burn that could turn stale, I took more to non-fiction because I felt it had a point to make, always something to disclose. Fiction, on the other hand, only provided me with a story consisting of characters, settings, plot, conflicts, and resolutions. I read novels as a fictional account of someone and failed to see how, through narrative, they could also be read as a story of the human experience.
Though not as purposeful, this is the same narrative found within non-fiction. However, if literary critic Roland Barthes is correct, narratives in any form of communication are inevitable as that “narrative is international, trans-historical, trans-cultural: it is simply there, like life itself.” With this lens, narratives are as personal as they are shared among us. They provide an avenue to emphasize intimate singular experiences and situate those experiences within a shared awareness. They are a reflection of a structure. Good novels, those with good narratives, make it that both structures and the individual stories can be engaged.
I’m sure to the chagrin of my high school English teachers, I should have learned this lesson earlier. However, it is one I’m happy to share with you here because it will help me conceptualize and highlight how a good prospect research profile can be like a good novel. Just like a good novel can provide the connections between individual story and the larger environment, I contend that the prospect research profile can be used as a tool to do the same. As you start to collect data for analytic work-streams within your shop, and to stay aligned with the strategies of your organization, your prospect research profile can help you answer what type of data you should collect for analyses. [Read more…]