The power of case studies – building an emotional connection

The power of case studies – building an emotional connection

The media thrives on a good human interest angle. Stories often succeed on the strength of a case study.

Ideally human examples connect your work with real people, and describe what you do in authentic, emotional terms. They not only demonstrate the value of your work, but also show people why they should support it.

This time last year we were busy preparing for the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s Awareness Month in June.

Inspired by some of the people affected by the disease, and those whose loved ones had their lives cut short by it, we worked with artists and filmmakers to tell the stories of three remarkable people for our Shortened Stories campaign.

The campaign focused on Steve: a child of the ‘70s. He was passionate about the great outdoors and studied maths and psychedelic rock at university. Steve enjoyed weekends in the mountains and dinners out with his special someone. After feeling a twinge in his hand while out playing golf, Steve was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, aged just 49. He died two years and seven months later.

Steve’s inspiring partner Heather shared his story and, working with an illustrator, helped create the poster that appeared at hundreds of sites across the rail, tube and bus network, and had a huge impact on everyone who saw it.

Sadly, none of us got to meet Steve but, through Heather, his story immediately and powerfully showed the brutal rapidity of the disease, which kills more than half of sufferers within two years.

Although he’s no longer with us, Steve helped people understand just how important it is that the MND Association is raising awareness and funds to research a cure for this terrible condition. This is the power of case studies.

So how can you gather compelling stories that make the best possible case for support in this uncertain environment?

Check out our new Intro to case studies, the importance of informed consent and how to build an easy-to-use library of stories that will work for your organisation.