KONY 2012; An Inspiring Example of Nonprofit Communications


If you haven’t seen the KONY 2012 video from Invisible Children, take a half hour and watch it here.  (You’ll have to scroll down just below the fold to see the video.)

The video — and the campaign it supports — do so many fundraising things RIGHT that it’s unbelievable.  Its an object lesson in communications for a nonprofit.  And here’s the thing; you can do the same thing for your cause.

Here are three things they did right that you can emulate:

  1. They gave the Problem a human face.  They focused the beginning of their story on one young boy, Jacob.  Humans (i.e., everybody watching the video) relate to other humans.  We can’t relate to statistics and large numbers.  Invisible Children could have bombarded us with statistics.  They didn’t.  They introduced us to a person.  You should too.
  2. They showed us a specific Problem that needs to be solved.  That’s the first step to any good fundraising offer; show the potential donor a compelling problem.  Do you show your donors problems (that they can solve) or do you show them only successes?   Show problems, ask the donor to solve them, and you’ll raise more money.
  3. They showed us a Solution that made sense.  I thought, “They’re right, we need to get rid of this guy.”  And their method for doing so made sense.  Does your fundraising ask your donors to take a specific, understandable action right now that makes sense?

I bet there will be complaints.  I bet the video will be lambasted by people who say they are oversimplifying the problem.  I bet they’ll hear from people who say they should be focusing on some other problem.  Of course there will.  People disagree on how to treat homelessness.  People can’t even agree on how to fight cancer.

I hope Invisible Children doesn’t pay much attention to the complaints.  I hope they work like crazy to solve the problem they’ve identified.

And I hope you’re working just as hard to solve the problem your nonprofit is working on.



Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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