Tap into the emotional: The importance of telling a good story when fundraising

Whether you are fundraising for a youth sports team or a women’s shelter, you must have a key, central story that brings your cause to life for your donors.

Being able to tell a good “story” is not about creating fiction. It’s about getting “real life” details of the people you serve most and being able to share that story in a way that creates emotion in your target donor.

For example, if you need to share how many women are helped each year by the services provided by your local women’s shelter, you can share statistics so people understand the breadth of the need.

But you should also tell them the story of “Beth” (name changed to protect the innocent). Beth’s story could be the actual history of a real client or it could be a compilation of 2-3 women’s stories. The key is that it is TRUE. Fiction does not work here. The public will smell a fake story a mile away and your credibility will tank.

The story should be compelling, unique from other organization’s “story” and touch on emotion.

Once you have your story, edit it to various formats that can be used in community presentations, radio ads, brochures, and a 30-second elevator speech (when people ask you “what do you people do anyway?”). Everyone in your organization should be familiar with your “story” so they, too, can share it when necessary. Let your staff and volunteers know that this story is not like a Mission Statement. This story is the “authentic heart” of why you work every day for this organization.

Not sure what your story is? Just ask yourself…why do I believe in this organization? What client stands out most in my mind?

Every charitable group has a story. Tell it.


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