Monday, April 6, 2009

Compelling message nets flood of results

As the rising flood waters pass through Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota towards Winnipeg, Manitoba, I am impressed how communities come together to combat the always challenging Red River. People do extraordinary things for their neighbors and friends in times of crisis. What strikes me the most is how complete strangers pitch in after a public call for volunteers to fill sandbags and build dikes (truly back-breaking work), provide food and any other task they are called upon to do. Hundreds heeded the call for help in our area and thousands more have already contributed time and labor, as well as moral support, throughout the flood zone.

What makes people respond? It's the compelling nature of the call to action. While this is a short-term crisis situation, convincing people to respond to any non-profit or community cause all comes down to the case for support.

A good case generally has these components:
  • Mission (save the communities affected by the flood)
  • History (history of fighting similar flood events over the years)
  • Accomplishments (enhancing flood protection, mobilizing volunteers)
  • Goals and Strategies (breaking up ice jams, reinforcing existing and building new dikes)
  • Need for Support (filling, hauling and heaving sandbags, making and delivering sustenance, directing traffic, providing moral support)
A good case will outline not just needs, but also how engaging in the cause will benefit the donor, volunteer and community. It's evident as I write this how mobilizing the community has benefitted the communities of Fargo and Grand Forks. As Winnipeg and Manitoba citizens hold their collective breath, we feel confident that we will also see how responding to a compelling case will save our homes and neighborhoods.

Laura Mikuska
Laura Mikuska Consulting
(204) 253-2447

1 comment:

  1. I agree Laura. Don't you also think that another part of the critical success of these efforts is that the needed tasks are logical, do-able and that each individuals who participates holds the potential to make a critical difference? Would this still work if only the Corp of Engineers (or its Canadian counterpart)work really mattered?