Tell Stories To Make Your Fundraiser Money
January 20, 2020
What’s the difference between a successful fundraising campaign and one that falls flat?
A great story.
Don’t believe us? Think back to the last time you were moved to donate your hard earned money to a cause. Chances are good that the drive to help out a friend or family member in need came back to the story of what got them involved. Or a story they shared by someone affected by the help an organization gives them. So how do you tell a story so good that it makes people open their wallets for a good cause?
You have to be strategic and keep a few things in mind in order to tell a story that makes money for your cause:
- Make it relevant
- Give examples
- Touch on emotions
- Give a call to action
- Make it urgent
Before you get overwhelmed, fear not. We’ll break it all down into actionable steps.
Make It Relevant
Also known as answering the question, “Why should I care?”
Even if someone doesn’t have an association with the cause you support, the goal of your story telling is to somehow make it relevant to them.
Show them how supporting the cause directly benefits the people that donations are going to. Give facts and figures relating to how far someone’s dollars go towards making a difference.
If your story hasn’t answered the question, “Why should I donate?” then you need to rewrite it.
As in regular business marketing, people love testimonials and case studies. In this case, your examples should focus on the beneficiaries of your donated dollars, and how they were positively affected. The video above is a perfect example, showcasing how the funds donated to the international charity Direct Relief, helped support the victims of the earthquake in Nepal. The charity also features an Aid Map on their website, where donators can go on and see exactly where and what the money has gone to all around the world.
Whatever your cause’s story, give it life by fleshing it out with examples. People respond well to pictures of other people, so make sure to add in relevant photos of the people you interview for sound bytes to add depth to your story!
If you’re sharing complex concepts, break them down by making understandable analogies. This is another critical element of storytelling.
Basically, the more detail, the better. Real life examples help connect someone to a cause by making it personal.
Touch On Emotions
Get people involved in your story.
A great story makes people emotional, and if your fundraiser is making a difference in someone’s life, it shouldn’t be hard to use an emotional storytelling element to influence donations. Even pairing a short headline with an image can be effective, as Unicef exemplifies above.
We all love to cheer for the underdog. Can you tell a story of how the organization you’re fundraising for brought someone from rags to riches? Or maybe it helped people pay for lifesaving medical care? These situations in particular can touch on the heartstrings.
But don’t underestimate how powerful smaller details can be. You don’t have to describe something completely life-changing to cause an emotional response!
Give A Call To Action
Answer the question, “What do you want me to do?”
A great story is important, but make sure to give people exact direction as to what you want them to do next. The above image is the homepage of Charity: water, and exemplifies how you can tell your audience exactly what you want them to do.
In sales, many forget to ask for the sale–and never get it! Don’t be shy, especially if you’re working to benefit a great cause. You have the benefit of raising money for something that can make a difference in someone’s life, not just making money for a corporation that’s mainly interested in profits.
Instead of limiting yourself by saying “Even $5 would make a difference!”, invite people to donate whatever makes sense for them. You’ll likely get larger donations, even if it’s from less people.
Regardless of how you phrase it, make sure to clearly ask for a donation at the end of your story!
Make It Urgent
You always want to tell people when you want them to donate (now!), and it helps if you can give them a reason to take immediate action. The charity CARE, as shown above, uses this strategy perfectly. By telling you exactly what they need donations for at that time, they encourage you to take immediate action because you know that there are people in need at that moment.
One of the biggest roadblocks in the way of fundraising is apathy. It’s not about people not caring for the cause, necessarily, but more about them not having a good enough reason to take action. Oftentimes, people don’t move right away because they figure they can wait until they’re ready, card in hand, relaxing on the couch after a long day at work.
But there’s no time like the present. Many smart marketers will tell you to get customers (or donors in this case) to move by offering some reason why it must happen now.
A few ideas to speed things up:
- Limited time donation match from another organization
- Limited donation period before funds must be turned over to the organization
- Personal goal you’re trying to meet
- “If x people donate x by x, I’ll [fill in the blank with something wacky].”
Be creative, but add some element of urgency to get people to make a donation immediately–not eventually.
Are you ready to take your fundraising to the next level with a story that makes money for your cause?
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