Many people tend to have a sense that things were better in the past. Yet most all data of social welfare show a strong positive trend over time. Take crime rates. Most of us tend to feel that the world is a more dangerous place than it use to be. But actual crime statistic show that crime rates have fallen significantly over the last generation.
The problem is that our ability to communicate the individual case (the robbery that happened in another state, the murder that happened in another country) is dramatically better than our ability to communicate the total picture (the fact that you had much higher chance of being robbed or murdered in 1990 than you do today.
That’s one of the reasons effective communications can be so powerful. Even when we are doing things right, if most people feel that things are going wrong then we have little chance of continuing the activities that are leading to positive change.
For an excellent example of powerful communication, see this short video of statistics professor Hans Rosling showing how global standards of living have changed over time (this video is new for those of you who have see Rosling’s videos in the past).
(Click here to see the video if you are viewing this in an email)
What if every foundation created one video of this sort that powerfully communicated the most important information they knew of that was related to their mission? Image the power of a library of hundreds of evidence-based arguments or explanations of what actually works.