There are so many ways to use storytelling to support your non-profit’s fundraising and communications goals. If your non-profit does event fundraising, storytelling can easily be incorporated into your event plan and can make for more compelling speeches. Hosting a nonprofit fundraising event can be a lot of work and in this article I’ll discuss ways to make your event appeal more compelling using storytelling.
Think About the Event Agenda as a “Story”
No matter what kind of event you’re hosting, one of the mind-set shifts you can make in event planning is to think about the event agenda as a “story.” The event should take your attendees on a journey from beginning to end, building up to a crescendo (aka the ask) and resolving with attendees making their gifts.
As the event planner or organizer, you can strategically think about how you are using speeches, videos or other content to facilitate this journey for attendees. Here are a few additional points to consider:
- What is the central message of your event?
- Who can speak or tell stories to be a carrier of this message?
- Can you vary the event content enough to appeal to different types of attendees?
How to Find Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event Speakers
Public speaking is often cited as people’s most common fear. It’s not for everyone. On the flip side, you can also end up with event speakers who are excited to speak but just want to hog the mic and don’t have the most compelling message.
But whether someone is feeling nervous or needs a little reigning in, with the right coaching and support they can become a great speaker for your event.
Before you can do that, you need to find speakers for your nonprofit fundraising event. Here are some tips for finding your event speakers:
- Talk to program staff about program participants who may be willing to share their story
- Put a call for speakers out in a social media post or email
- Identify board members who could be good event speakers
- Talk to your volunteers about sharing stories
- Ask staff members to consider being an event speaker
Similar to finding great stories to tell, you want to cast a wide net when searching for event speakers.
How to use storytelling at a non-profit fundraising event. Step-by-step guidance to help your speakers.
Support Your Speakers at Every Step
Arguably what your speakers say at your event is one of the most important aspects of a nonprofit fundraising event. And yet, providing speakers with guidance, support and preparation often gets overlooked.
In the weeks and months leading up to your event, consider yourself a storytelling speaker coach. You’ll want to:
- Work with speakers to identify key points for their talk
- Give speakers feedback on drafts of their speech
- Be a practice audience for speakers (yes, this should happen!)
- Provide cheerleading along the way to pump up your event speakers
You want your event speakers to have a great experience and feel prepared and confident when they hit the stage. Your support leading up to the event can make a difference. Bake this support into your event plan and get ready to see a difference in the quality of your event’s content.