You’ve probably heard it before: Storytelling will help you raise more money!
Why? Because storytelling is one of the ways human beings connect to each other. Stories help donors feel a stronger connection to you and your organization. That sense of connection leads to greater empathy, which incites the desire to give.
For the vast majority of your donors, this feeling of connectedness is an ESSENTIAL piece of what moves them to give or increase their gift. (Still not convinced? Read more about the brain science of storytelling here.)
The great thing is, you can weave stories into almost every component of your fundraising program. Experiment with some of these easy, low-risk and low-cost approaches:
Record a short video of a client telling their story. Post it on your website; post it on YouTube. Include a link to it in your email signature. Videos are a powerful storytelling tool, and they don’t have to be professionally produced to have impact. This how-to-make-a-video-for-nonprofits can get you started.
Use a story in your next direct mail appeal. Let the story of a single family illustrate your organization’s impact.
Tell a client story in your newsletter. Get a photo and write a paragraph or two about one of the people your organization has helped. Newsletters are fantastic storytelling vehicles – why don’t we use them more??
Ask your next event speaker to share stories. The stories or jokes at the beginning of a keynote address are often the only parts of a speech we remember! There is likely a good story or two behind why this person is up on stage at your event – ask them to share!
Use stories in stewardship. Instead of the same boring thank you letter template, use your next acknowledgment letter to tell a story instead. The tale of how your donor’s gift impacted one person, one pet, one park, one patient, or one (fill in the blank) will resonate with them far more than boilerplate words of thanks.
Guide donors in telling their stories. Donors have stories too. Ask for them. Include a donor profile in your next e-newsletter. Not only will your relationship deepen with your donor, your perspective about her will change too. And donor stories will resonate with other donors in a unique way. These donor profiles from the Nature Conservancy might give you some ideas.
Highlight fundraising volunteers. Your volunteers (and even your fundraising staff) have great stories to tell – you can feature your volunteer and staff stores in your next newsletter. This short video of fundraising stories from JustGiving is good inspiration.
Looking for more ideas? Attend the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference this fall. Or check out 4 Ways to Get Started in Storytelling and Storytelling: 5 Things Nonprofits Should Do Differently.
What other vehicles have you used for sharing stories? Please share your experiences, thoughts and ideas in the Comments box below!
Special gift for you: Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, a step-by-step guide, is available here (click).