There’s no doubt that humans engage with stories in a uniquely powerful way. There are a lot of reasons for this. We find inspiration, empathy, connection, hope, and purpose in stories. The Bible is filled with stories, revealing God’s passion for creative storytelling. This reality holds significance for nonprofit organizations as they encounter the challenge of fundraising. Using a story to share your organization’s mission and vision is incredibly effective. In light of that, what are the essential elements of storytelling for fundraising nonprofit organizations?
You Need A Character
Every story needs a main character. The same is true for the story you are telling through your nonprofit organization. Because your organization no doubt serves people, that’s a great place to start. Whom do you serve? Who benefits from your work? Who needs your work? These are great questions to ask yourself as you find a protagonist for your story. Remember, the hero of the story is not your organization. It’s the people you are serving. They are the hero of the story, with hopes, dreams, and challenges to overcome. Your organization is the guide that helps them overcome their challenges and achieve victory. When fundraising, you have the special opportunity to invite potential donors to support your character in their adventure. Of course, one way they do this is by supporting your organization financially.
Introduce the Conflict
No story is any good without conflict. The conflict doesn’t always have to be dramatic. It just needs to exist in some form. The character must face a challenge or obstacle that keeps them from their goal. The conflict could also be an obstacle facing your own organization that keeps you from serving your protagonist. Communicating this conflict is particularly important in a fundraising context. Your fundraising efforts will support the people you serve. It will help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. If you can’t clearly communicate the essential conflict of your story, it won’t engage with your readers and potential donors.
Follow the Storybrand Format
Storybranding is a concept developed by Donald Miller to help businesses and organizations clearly tell their stories. The storybrand format relies on organizations developing a character with goals and abilities, a challenge or conflict, and a guide to help them achieve victory. Miller encourages organizations to cast themselves as the guides, not the protagonists themselves. Following this format can be effective for your fundraising efforts. Learn how to tell a story that puts the focus on the people you serve while simultaneously articulating the value that your organization provides. This is a powerful way to share your vision with potential donors.
Call Them to Action
Your story isn’t complete without a call to action. You need to invite your readers into the story whether you’ve achieved victory or it’s still years in the future. Classy encourages nonprofit organizations to close their stories by sharing their “impact.” In other words, articulate what your organization is doing and beckon readers to join you. A call to action at the end of an engaging story is an essential element of fundraising. What should your call to action incorporate? Perhaps your call to action may include a link to your donation page or a page with volunteer information.
Harness the Power of Storytelling
Fundraising requires you to share your story in an engaging way. Many fundraising experts have learned to optimize strategies to make the most of their storytelling. There are plenty of additional resources from different sources to help you craft your story in the best way possible. The key is telling your story genuinely and inviting others to join you in making an impact and making a better story.
There’s a lot more to fundraising than just structuring your story though. In addition to storytelling, a successful fundraising campaign requires effective communication channels, functional donation systems, and reliable web technology. Learn more about how Five More Talents can equip your nonprofit organization to harness the power of technology with our Fundraising Add-on Service.