By Melissa Crocker

In my role working for Operation Eyesight, the most important thing I do is communicate our impact. Our donors care about international development and restoring sight for people without access to quality eye health care–but there are so many more levels to what we do. Bringing stories to life is the best way to increase our donors’ confidence that their donations really do make a difference.

Our print newsletter, SightLines, brings in more donations than any other print piece we produce. SightLines highlights patient experiences that allow donors to see the effects of their gifts in a powerful way. Contributing stories to this newsletter is a very important part of what I do as a not-for-profit communicator.

We recently published a particularly successful issue of SightLines that focused on gender equality. Gender equality is also one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and lately I’ve been highlighting how what we do is tied to the SDGs to help connect our strategy to the bigger international development picture for our donors.

Melissa Crocker, senior marketing specialist for Operation Eyesight, demonstrates the impact storytelling can have on donations.

Operation Eyesight addresses gender equality in so many ways. Two thirds of all blind children are girls. In many developing nations, women and girls just don’t have the same status in society and are not prioritized for health care. Our programs ensure everyone gets quality eye health care, regardless of gender.

We also provide opportunities for rewarding work as community health workers (CHWs). Most of our CHWs are women. I wrote a story about an incredible CHW, Amita, who lives in Nepal. She had dreams of becoming a nurse, but her parents couldn’t afford the schooling. Operation Eyesight trained her as a CHW and she now holds a fulfilling position where she is a trusted eye health expert in her community.

The response we received on this newsletter has been phenomenal. Our audience was deeply affected by our message. Ensuring women and girls in developing countries have the same status as men when it comes to treatment for diseases, and empowering women to act as respected health care leaders in their communities, underscored the message that our donors are making a more profound difference than they realized.

My ability as a communicator, along with the rest of my team, to bring these stories to life makes a real difference in how our donors feel about supporting our cause.

Melissa Crocker is the senior marketing specialist for Operation Eyesight based in Calgary.

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