Use Stories to Connect with Donors

Let’s get really good at story telling

The pandemic is reminding us that without being able to interact normally with our donors, we need more compelling ways to get them to engage with us and our nonprofit’s story.

When people feel deep emotion, their brain releases the chemical dopamine. They feel emotionally attached which helps them to relate to the story and builds an active connection to the cause. When nonprofits engage in effective storytelling, they increase the likelihood that supporters want to be a part of the solution, and will activate that feeling into giving or volunteering for the organization.

In a virtual world, it’s even more important to tell and share powerful stories about your mission. Without the face-to-face connection and in-person fundraisers, we need to both humanize our brands and create emotional bonds to our nonprofits.

We recommend answering the following questions to help tell your story:

  • What is unique to your cause or your event that will stand out?
  • What impact stories can you share, about how your nonprofit or fundraising made a difference?
  • How can you showcase your mission statement in images?
  • Who are real-life heroes you can feature?

When I was a young child, we would drive seven hours to the beach. The windows were rolled down in the baby blue 1964 Buick Skylark, but the temperature was stifling. My brother and I would be bickering with each other. We drew a line down the center of the backseat daring the other one to cross it, as we screamed insults in between hitting each other. That was until Mom diverted our attention using the Burma Shave signs along the side of the road to keep us busy.

Each sign was red with white lettering and had only two to four words written on it. The next one, in two or three miles, had just a few words written on it. We had to remember the words of the previous signs to keep up with the mystery. After several miles, we finally got to read the last one and solve the riddle. For instance, the successive signs said: Big Mistake—Many Make—Rely on the Horn—Instead of the—Brake. Then the next set of signs would start and the joke or rhyme would keep us engaged again.

This is a model you can use to tell your story. What if you told a story about your recipients a few words at a time in your emails, snail-mail letter or social media? It is like the binge-worthy shows where it has mystery and intrigue and you control the dripping of the content. If you create anticipation, tension, and captivate attention, people will read your emails, social media and watch your videos. And more then watch, you can and will increase their aptitude to give!

Ask your constituents how their lives have changed as a result of your nonprofit. Then use that story as one example of the good work being done.

Excerpted from the e-book Robin wrote for OneCause. Read it here: https://www.onecause.com/ebook/twenty-nine-creative-fundraising-ideas-for-virtual-events/