If you want to know why I hate ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Google “ribbon-cutting” and then click on “Images” and you’ll see why. They all look the same.
Some people try to come up with clever or cutesy ribbon-cuttings, and those usually bomb, too. But here’s one that’s so unusual, it’s worth mentioning. I found it over at Alan Sharpe’s Direct Mail Fundraising Blog.
Alan offers this hypothetical example of a compelling ribbon-cutting:
“Instead of a ribbon-cutting photo featuring your leaders, why not take a photo that features your donors? Let’s say you mailed a special appeal letter six months ago, asking for funds to build a wheelchair-accessible ramp at your summer camp for kids. The money came in, the ramp is complete, and the project was a success.
“You could run a story in your newsletter with the headline, ‘New Wheelchair Access Ramp Completed,’ accompanied by a photo of the ribbon-cutting ceremony with this caption: “Our executive director cuts the ribbon during the opening ceremony for our new wheelchair access ramp.” Boring. The focus of the story is the ribbon and the ramp, not the benefits of the ramp (who it helps) or the cause of the ramp (the donors).
“Instead, you could take a photo of a camper descending the ramp all by herself in her motorized wheelchair. Surrounding the ramp are the volunteers who donated their time, and a representative sampling of donors who gave their gifts. They are all waving and applauding as the girl makes her way to the bottom of the ramp, ready to break through the inaugural ribbon at the bottom with her legs (much the same way Olympic runners do with their chests).
“The headline reads: ‘New Wheelchair Ramp Gives One Camper–and Many Donors–a Big Lift.’
“The photo caption reads: ‘INCLINED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Dozens of Camp Wikiming volunteers and donors celebrate as 13-year-old Kirsten Jacobs enjoys the fruit of their love, labour and generosity–the new wheelchair access ramp to Lansing Hall.”
Thanks, Alan. Newspapers and TV stations might even be willing to cover this one.
The next time you’re tempted to break ground, cut a ribbon or pass a check, slap yourself. Then see “Fun Alternatives to Boring Ground-breakings, Ribbon-cuttings and Check-passings” for ideas that are great alternatives.