How to make an “abstract” problem real

Here’s a great TED talk by Engineer Michael Pritchard. It’s not exactly the type of topic people flock to hear: It’s about the need for safe drinking water. But Mr. Pritchard brings it to life:



Or watch it here.


Here’s an important thing he says:



I talked a lot in the past about statistics, and the provision of safe drinking water for all. But they just don’t seem to get through. And I think I’ve worked out why. It’s because, using current thinking, the scale of the problem just seems too huge to contemplate solving. So we just switch off…. Well, today, I’d like to show you that through thinking differently, the problem has been solved.

When he talks about “thinking differently,” he means about the safe drinking water problem. But he also thinks differently about how to talk about the problem.


It’s a great story. One that would likely motivate donors to give. (Unfortunately, he’s asking for $8 billion or $20 billion, rather than a more bite-sized cost of the portable Lifesaver filter.)


Can you show people what you do in as compelling a way?


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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