“There was a barber and his wife, and she was beautiful…” These haunting lyrics from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” a macabre tragicomedy tell the tale of an English barber whose wife and daughter are unjustly taken from him.
Now there is a story that most people would be interested in. What happened to him? Why were his wife and daughter taken from him? How did he cope? Or did he?
Here is the point of introducing you to Sweeney: it’s a story that makes you feel empathetic, at least it did me. I wanted to help this misbegotten soul. So, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to be a storyteller, not a statistic giver, because when you put a single living creature, such as pitiable Todd, at the heart of your appeal (story), you engage; you invite the reader into the life of a person who needs help or is in the process of turning his or her life around.
Time and again, it’s stories that motivate gift giving, not statistics.