1 min Read
September 1, 2011

Three ways to harness the power of humor.

Big Duck

Nonprofiteers are serious people. You’ve made a choice to dedicate your lives towards a goal that you’re passionate about. Some of the issues are pretty weighty. How can you even laugh when there are such critical issues facing the world?

Well, sometimes the answer is, “How can you not?” Humor is a terrific coping mechanism. It’s a great way to relieve stress and break down social barriers. But besides amusement, it can also be used to great effect to further your cause and spread your message. How many viral videos are forwarded just because they’re funny?

The Ducks, too, are pretty serious-minded. We love diving into the issues of the day, our work motivates us, and we love making a difference on behalf of our clients. But we also really enjoy each other. When you poll our staff, one of the reasons we like working here is that we get some pretty good laughs in during the typical day. Perhaps you’ve noticed that “good fun” is one of our values. We mean it.

So how can you best harness the power of humor?

  1. Make time for it. If you’re having a creative brainstorm for any reason, build in a bit more time than you think is necessary. A little up-front silly time will help the creative juices flow throughout the meeting.
  2. Be open. We deal with lots of “sad truths” in the nonprofit world. Sometimes the obstacles are upsetting. But ask any professional comedian: there’s terrific humor to be mined from the places that make us angry. Humor can be your coping mechanism. Be open to it.
  3. Pay it off. Humor can grab attention. If you’ve found the comedic hook to your campaign, for example, don’t forget to bring it back to the action you want the audience to take. Funny is good. Funny that leads to action is great.

This is a big topic. And our very own Design Director Sonny Mui gets into a bit more detail, including a few examples of good humor used well, in his blog post on the subject.