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The power of the reverse strobe
The power of the reverse strobe

In the 1920s, machine makers had a problem. They could get motors to rotate so fast, they could no longer measure how fast they were going, and so couldn’t calibrate them.

A young engineer at MIT came up with a solution. He designed a lighting system that could time its flashes in time with the motor. If the timing was the same, the effect was that the motor seemed to stand still, and so you knew at what speed it was moving.

The engineer was Harold “Doc” Etherington, his invention was called the strobe, and one side effect of the breakthrough was that he had also invented high speed photography. Set the strobe to the speed of the bullet, and it would turn its movement into a set of still images. Now you could capture, say, an image of a bullet passing through an apple.

Our task as charity fundraisers and storytellers is to create a reverse strobe. Too often, communications are in isolation, seen as one moment frozen in time.

But we need to see them in the context of all the recipient has seen before, and will see in the future. We need to take them on a journey, curating that journey to tell our story and ascend our audience to greater levels of engagement, including the amounts they want to give us.

Obvious? Of course. Yet, really, how much do you personalise, curate, and ascend each of your audience members?

Is it practical? With intelligent automation, and compelling creative work, yes.

And we have some thoughts on how you might do that, which we’ll share in articles to come.

Michael Isaacs

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