If ever there was a perfect time to tell your philanthropic community stories, it would be at the end of the year. The holiday season puts people in a warm and fuzzy mood, which really amplifies the emotional impact stories can have on people.
In Monday’s post I discussed 3 actions you can take now to engage “December only donors” before your year-end fundraising asks – one of which was to tell your donors stories. Lucky for you, it’s only July which leaves you with plenty of time to collect and craft great stories that will inspire your donors.
If you’re new to storytelling and aren’t sure how to get started, don’t fret about it! Follow these 5 steps to collect the right story for your fundraising purposes.
- Define your end-goal and purpose for the story. If you don’t know where you want to end up, the job of collecting a story that works for your piece will be that much more difficult. I recommend to my clients that they identify what they will be using the story in (email, letter, video, etc) and what message it is supporting.
- Define your audience. Knowing who your audience is another key part to successful storytelling. There are lots of perspectives that you could tell a story from at a non-profit – staff member, board member, client, donor, volunteer, etc. This about who will be receiving this communication and which perspective would be most meaningful to them.
- Spread the word. The best way to find good story leads is to involve as much of your organization in the project as possible. Now, this might sound counter-intuitive and chaotic but there is a method to my madness. If you’re not in programs, chances are you won’t hear a lot of the stories your colleagues here on a daily basis. Get your colleagues excited about this project and you’ll be getting more leads than you know what to do with.
- Tell stories at at least one meeting a week. As a part of getting everyone involved to increase your chances of finding a gem of story, it’s important to tell each other stories. Carve out ten minutes at your next meeting to try this out.
- Follow up with story leads. This is probably the biggest task in this process. Depending on what perspective you’re telling your story from, you may have to do a bit of digging. Connect with whomever you need to and explain the important of your project and how they can easily help you by making an introduction to a person with a possible story. From there, suss out the situation to see if the story fits your needs.
These 5 steps with help set you up for storytelling success this year.
If you have questions about storytelling, I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below and I’ll gladly answer any and all of your questions.