Telling the story of your nonprofit is the art of successful fundraising. Like storytelling, at its best, fundraising is a very human-centered enterprise. When asking for a gift or acknowledging a donor, it is important to translate facts into feelings –– all which fuels giving and promotes donor retention. Incorporating storytelling into your fundraising will help build greater interest in your organization and will help increase support.
It is often remarked that the last gift a donor makes is the beginning of the stewardship towards the next one. But getting to that next solicitation is the role of good stewardship and storytelling.
A good story can:
· Inspire donors,
· Motivate board and staff members
· Rally supporters
· Ignite advocacy
· Build long-term donor interest
Storytelling lets donors and volunteers know that they are making an impact and making life better for real people.
The difference between a story that moves your donors and one that leaves them cold isn’t dramatic details or incredible results. It often lies in the planning for what you hope your story will accomplish and will help bridge the gap between what you want your donors to know and what you want them to do.
Stories connect donors to the beneficiaries that are benefiting from their contributions while highlighting the pressing need for your mission. Good stories must be memorable. They need to boost engagement. Messaging and images need to build your brand. Most important of all, stories must help a donor learn.
What makes a good story? Story should be character driven. It is important to make donors part of the story. Stories need to demonstrate impact. They must promote what a nonprofit does and why it matters.
Where do you find good stories? Stories are everywhere. Program officers are often a great source. They are the ones that are doing the work. Stories do not need to be dramatic. Donors, too, can be a good source. It can be the simple matter of responding to or meeting the need of a donor. Its people benefiting from the work that the organization does. A random act of kindness can make a wonderful story.
It is important to tell your story. Your story should activate empathy. Stories work when they make us feel. To inspire giving, the story must hit the audience emotionally. Stories need to build connections. It is important to show how donors impact a story, how change happens and why it matters. Use images and pictures to help tell your story.
Storytelling should be become one of the most important tools in your fundraising toolbox. To help make it happen, you need to build a culture of storytelling within your organization.
What’s your story?