Stories influence our emotions and actions. If told effectively, they find their way to our hearts and heads in a way that very few other methods of communication can. We humans are hardwired to respond to stories and tend to remember a good story much longer than facts or figures. Why is storytelling necessary in the world of fundraising? There are several things stories can do for your end goal:
Create Context – Storytelling is a valuable tool to help donors understand the context in which you operate by seeing the challenges you or your beneficiaries are facing. Stories help us relate and are memorable so they can ground your strategy.
Move People to Act – People make decisions based on emotions. Data and logic are important, but emotion (backed up by logic) is what makes us move or change. Without a story, there wouldn’t be any emotions. Data cannot cause emotion unless we connect it to a story. If done correctly, storytelling can encourage people to donate – which is the ultimate goal!
Create a Connection – Stories connect people and create empathy. They work with commonality by highlighting things we can all relate to or share. Emotions motivate charitable actions, which is why this is so meaningful to any organization.
Now that you know why storytelling is important, it’s time to learn how to do so effectively. Take your storytelling to a new level with these quick tips.
- Be clear and concise – Focus on why your organization exists, what you hope to accomplish, who you are doing it for and why the reader or viewer should care. Remember: stories are captivating but there is a limit to human attention.
- Be authentic and genuine – People are aware of when an organization is appealing to them to try and sell something which can cause unfavorable reactions, preventing them from donating or buying. Always share genuine stories in a way that is authentic to your organization.
- Build characters – Characters give your audience someone to root for or identify with. Don’t be afraid to mention real people at the organization. There’s nothing wrong with establishing a personal connection!
- Limit the use of facts and figures – You can include them, but do not make them the center of your story. A story should emotionally engage and move the reader to act. Think along the lines of, “This is the story and here are the numbers to back it up”.
- Communicate donor impact – Combine storytelling with impact reporting by telling stories that showcase the effect your organization has and highlight exactly how the funds are used. This helps retain donors while attracting new ones because they can see exactly how their gift is making a difference!
- It’s okay to change your story – You can change your story at any point as long as it stays aligned to your mission.
- Use your website – Each page on your website is a chance to tell a story. Your Givedot website is already set up for this so all you need to do is plug it in!
- Use your social media – Social media is the perfect outlet to share stories and get instant feedback, in addition to leading donors straight to your donation page. Your Givedot site can integrate your social media pages with just a click or two.
- Use visuals – Consider visual elements such as videos, infographics, images, and even drawings or cartoons to stand out among the sea of text.
- Include a call to action – Your audience will be motivated to give if you tell a compelling story. Place a relevant call to action at the end; if the call to action is a donation button, ensure the button leads your reader/viewer to donate to the person from the story or someone in a similar situation.