With 2016 half over, now is a time to start thinking about how to ensure that your non-profit reaches its year-end fundraising goals. Will you send direct mail? Will you use online fundraising technology? Maybe something else? Regardless of what tactics your non-profit uses to reach its fundraising goals, you’ll need to tell a story to compel and inspire donors to answer the call to action.
Stories are an easy way to engage current and potential donors because they will be able to see their impact in action. When you give them one, clear example of how they can help, they will be more likely to believe that they can make a difference through their giving.
When you tell a story to a donor, you are giving them emotion and experience that they can relate to. When they are able to relate to something on a deep level, they may even empathize with it. Ultimately, that’s the kind of deep, inspired connection we want donors to have.
Here are three types of stories that you can tell in your year-end fundraising campaigns.
An impact story is a great way to show donors what they have (or could) make possible through their giving. When you share an impact story you’ll want to look for the following things:
- Someone or something that was facing a problem
- A villain who was making the problem worse. The villain does not have to be a person.
- An outcome that reflects your organization’s mission or vision
Having these three elements in an impact story will set you up for success.
A future story is one where you paint a picture for donors about what the future could be like if your organization were to fulfill its mission or vision. “Imagine what it would be like if. . . “ is a powerful way to start one of these stories. Your goal in telling this story is to inspire your donor audience with an exciting vision that they believe in, too.
Donor stories can serve as powerful social proof; whereby other donors can see that there are other people like them who support the cause. This reinforces their values-based decision to give. When you tell a story about a donor, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Look for a donor who is relatable. This means that it might not be someone making a major gift.
- Find out what their connection to the cause is and be sure to talk about it in the story.
Donor stories can be great to use in appeals as well as donor stewardship.
Which of these stories will your non-profit try next? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Vanessa Chase Lockshin is an international non-profit consultant, thought leader, trainer, and speaker. She’s part of the next generation of professionals bringing change to the non-profit sector and challenging conventions. Vanessa is President of The Storytelling Non-Profit, and author of The Storytelling Non-Profit: A practical guide to telling stories that raise money and awareness.