Monday, 9 April 2012

How to be unexpected: A lesson in breaking the norm

Every time you board a flight, the cabin crew make a safety announcement. You know the one – we’re here for your safety and comfort, your seatbelt fastens like this, that and the other, the exits are here, here and here. (*She waves arms*.)

During this announcement a couple of nervous passengers will look up from their book. The rest of the passengers do not notice and certainly do not listen. They do not care.

A few years ago I flew with a small budget South African airline called Kulula. Think easyjet, but their signature colour is green. Anyway, they taught me a thing or two about getting people’s attention.A woman took to the microphone.

“Ladies and gentleman please can we have your attention for a quick safety announcement. Please listen carefully, it will be followed by a test.Smoking is forbidden on this flight. If you are found smoking in the toilets you will be ejected from the nearest exit. Either that or you will be fined R8000, and for that price, you could have flown South African Airways.

In the unlikely event of loss of pressure, an oxygen mask will fall from the panel above your head. Please stop screaming and place it over your nose and mouth. If you are travelling with a small child, please place your own mask on before helping them. If you are travelling with several children, pick your favourite. 

If we land on water – which is highly unlikely as we are flying over land – your lifejacket is found under you seat. Please remove this and place around your neck. 
Your seat can also be used as a floatation device – do take this with you with our compliments.

There are 4 emergency exits on this plane. The crew will now do the macarena and point them out to you. Please do take notice where your nearest exit is, and consider that when you are trying to find it, it may well be above or below you.

All that remains is to ask you to sit back and enjoy the ride.”

You get the gist. It was captivating. Years on and I can recall the details of a safety announcement. A safety announcement.

But what can Kulula’s witty spiel teach us as fundraisers?

Well, if that safety announcement had been a request for funds, I would have given. I’m pretty sure my fellow travellers would have considered giving too.

The announcement was totally unexpected. It broke the pattern of every other safety announcement I’ve ever heard. And it caused me to sit up and take notice.

As fundraisers we need people to sit up and take notice of our message, our cause, our requests for money.So, we need our message to be unexpected, to break the pattern, and to make the passengers look up from their books.



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