Effectively Use Storytelling to Fundraise
Did you know there’s a science to storytelling? Having a character driven story engages high brain activity which activates the empathy chemicals in the brain known as oxytocin synthesis. This allows for better understanding and recollection of the points made in your story, allowing it to resonate with your audience on a deeper level.
When it comes to fundraising, character driven storytelling is essential. To inspire someone to donate to your cause, they need more than facts and data to be persuaded.
Your audience needs to connect to your story on a personal and emotional level. When you effectively tell a story, you evoke emotion, allowing prospective donors to connect to your cause and mission.
In order to connect the dots for your audience, you have to answer the essential questions of any great story...who, what, where, and why.
Sounds simple enough, right? For many it's quite challenging, but it doesn't have to be! We're bringing it back to basics for you, as we breakdown what needs to be included to make your storytelling effective for your fundraising cause.
The “Who” is the main character of your story and can be anyone involved with your organization - a program participant, staff member, volunteer, current donor or board member. These individuals are deeply connected to your mission and can share their experiences to your audience with a sense of passion and purpose.
You need to get personal, and share as much detail as possible about your main character. Firsthand testimonial is a great way to strengthen your story and make it relatable to potential donors.
The “What” is the background information of the story that gives context to the main point and character. Consider the following: What does the main character need? What is driving them? What is your organization doing to help the main character overcome these obstacles? What impact did you make in the main character's life? What makes your organization important or unique?
The "What" also needs to include critical data points about your organization, what you've accomplished thus far, what you're seeking to accomplish now, what action steps you want your audience to take, and finally what their donation will be spent on.
Your audience is more likely to donate and support your organization when they develop a strong emotional connection, understand the work you're doing and how their contribution helps make an impact.
The “Where” includes the place or geographic area you're impacting, and lets your prospective donors know what community their donation will help. While some donors prefer to help causes that are local to their community, others will want to contribute regardless of the community or country. Which is why making your story relatable to the audience is so important.
When talking about the "Where" include facts and statistics about the city, county, state or country you are serving. If you are only serving one community, focus on statistics that are most relevant to your community and those you serve.
The "Where" also includes the channels your story is being told through. Where to tell your story, that is the question.
You can share your story in a variety of ways including newsletters, brochures, donation letters, in grant proposals, on social media sites, on your YouTube channel, through local media outlets, and our favorite... in front of a live audience.
Determine the best channels to tell your story or else all of your efforts in creating a great story will be for nothing. And remember, a really great story is timeless.
Most Importantly The "Why"
Lastly, the “Why” is the main point for telling your story in the first place. It’s the heart of your mission and why you are raising funds. Your "Why" is the most emotionally provoking information, empowering prospective donors to deeply understand how their contribution can make a difference in someone else’s life.
To tell a powerful and impactful story, you need to convey the "Why" in a way that tugs on the heartstrings of your audience. Your "Why" should persuade prospective donors to become a part of your story, and should emphasize that you couldn’t complete your mission without their support.
Stories engage our brains and emotions which makes us more receptive to fundraising. A good story empowers people to become part of your story. A deep emotional connection is a strong motivator to not only donate, but to become the ultimate champion for your organization.
We hope you found this information helpful. If your organization needs assistance telling a compelling story, send us an email at email@example.com. We look forward to helping you succeed.