Telling stories can improve your organization’s fundraising results. I had a client who used a story in their year-end direct mail piece and the average gift size doubled. Pretty incredible! Perhaps you have heard of similar results at organizations that are telling stories. But the question is – is your non-profit telling stories?
Not every organization is despite knowing the benefits of storytelling. As I talk to fundraisers and executive directors, what I often hear is that they just aren’t sure how or where to tell their stories. My first piece of advice in this instance is to know your audience and tell stories where they spend their time. Once you know this information you can move on to thinking about where you’ll share the stories.
Here are 13 ways to use stories to raise more money.
#1 – Tell a story in your thank you letter. Great stewardship will improve retention rates and your stories are a wonderful way to connect donors directly to their impact. Try adding in a specific example of how a donor’s gift was used in your thank you letter.
#2 – Use a story in a direct mail appeal. Rather than talking generally about what your organization does, use a specific example.
#3 – Record a short video on your phone and use it on social media. This could be of a staff member telling a story, or even a client.
#4 – Tell a story in every newsletter. This connects donor back to what they make possible through their donations.
#5 – Include a story on your donation page. This would be a great place for an embedded video.
#6 – Use one story and tell it over 2 or 3 email appeals.
#7 – At your next major donor meeting, tell the donor a story about a program/service/project they care about.
#8 – Collect participant/attendee stories at your next event and share them in real-time on your social media feed. Check out this example of event participant stories.
#9 – Use one story for your #GivingTuesday campaign. Pick one story that you think donors could really rally around and focus on that 1 story for the day.
#10 – If you tell a story in an email or direct mail appeal, re-purpose the story for your social media channels. Then direct people to a web page with the story and a donate button.
#11 – At your next event work with a speaker and coach them to tell a great story before making the appeal for gifts.
#12 – If you are doing a crowd funding campaign, pick 1 story to highlight that relates to the ask. Over the period of the campaign, keep telling everyone about the story and give them updates.
#13 – Include a story in your thank you call script. This is especially great if you have board members or volunteers making calls because you’ll arm them with a great story to share.
How does your non-profit use stories in fundraising? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.