Storytelling was a hot topic in non-profit communications and fundraising during 2014, and there’s no reason for it to be a fleeting trend in how we do our work. Storytelling is an integral tool that can help non-profit engage and inspire their communities in order to reach their goals.
Did your non-profit tell a lot of stories in 2013?
Whether or not you felt like you leveraged the power of stories last year, it’s a new year, which brings us a clean slate to begin planning. In addition to crafting your annual fundraising plan, take time in the coming weeks to craft your storytelling strategy for 2014.
What is a Storytelling Strategy
Just as you have strategies and tactics for reaching your fundraising goals, a storytelling strategy will serve as a support player to help you reach these goals. The benefits of documenting this strategy are that you’ll have clear direction as to what you need to do on the storytelling front throughout the year. Eliminating the guess work will save you a lot of time in the long run!
A storytelling strategy is comprised of 4 parts.
Setting your goal
Creating the umbrella message
Collecting the stories
In today’s blog post, we are going to cover how to set your goal and create your umbrella message
Setting Your Goal
Telling your audience stories simply for the sake of telling stories is about as useful as high heels in the snow. Stories are a means to an end – that end being raising money – and if you don’t have a goal in mind then you are missing out on a huge strategic opportunity.
Good news – You are already taking the first step towards harnessing this opportunity just by creating a storytelling strategy!
Setting a goal is the first part of that strategy. Consider the following question – what is your organization trying to gain by telling stories?
The answer to this question may tie into the goals that you’ve listed in your fundraising plan, or it might be slightly different. But usually, if you are using stories in the context of fundraising the goals should be complementary.
Filter your storytelling choices through your goal. Every action you take should be moving you closer to your goal.
Creating the Umbrella Message
Identifying your umbrella message is not a difficult as it sounds. This message is going to be ever-green for the year and will be the thing that you most want to communicate to your audience. It is also the message that will help shape how you tell stories. After all, we want to use our stories strategically to achieve our goal.
To create your umbrella message, consider the following question – why do you need the money?
This is the question that is most likely to be top of mind for your donors and by pre-emptively answering it for them, you help to negate any doubts they may have about giving.
For extra bonus points – try running your umbrella message by a couple of your trusted donors for feedback. Doing this kind of market research is really invaluable and can provide you with a new perspective on you work!
Stay tuned for next Monday’s post where we will cover how to collect the stories and seamlessly integrate your efforts for maximum ROI!