STORIES- How fascinated are you by stories? Does a good story compel you to take action?
Storytelling has been the best way to communicate ideas and information for ages. It takes the form of text, audio, or video. Stories help us connect with the characters and learn from their experiences.
Storytelling helps with donations too! Each individual or organization that wants funds has a story to tell. An engaging story helps you connect with potential donors better.
Yes! How then will you explain the phenomenal growth of social media platforms? Short videos, reels, memes, and gifs are ruling the roost. People have a short attention span, and you need to get across your point instantly without wasting their time. This is where storytelling helps.
The science of storytelling isn’t something new. The basic formula for storytelling remains the same. You have a hero who has a conflict, and how they resolve the conflict through a solution forms the crux of any story. Believe us, your fundraising story is also the same! All you need to do is give structure to your story and build it to communicate with your audience.
The base of any story lies in its central character. You build a story around the character. This concept has been followed through the ages. In your fundraising story, the individual who needs the donation is the central character.
If you are a nonprofit collecting funds for a cause, bring in any person who is directly impacted by the funds to be the main character or hero of your story.
For instance, if you are raising funds to repair a school, let a student be the face of your story. Let the donors track the progress of the cause through the eyes of the character.
All is not well with the character, isn’t it? That is why you are making efforts to raise funds. What is the issue? Why does the character need funds? Who is the villain of the story?
For instance, if you want to raise funds to build a dog shelter, make an affected dog the main character and tell them how it is suffering without a proper shelter.
Pick the weakest of the dogs as the hero. The donors will now want to rally in the fight against the opponent and make the dog victorious at any cost.
They will rejoice when you show the positive impact of your funds by turning the weakest into the strongest.
Now that you have showcased the villain to your donors, they react through their contributions.
These funds are meant to help your character face the challenges and defeat the conflict. Don’t wait until you reach the final fundraising goal. Set short-term, realistic goals instead. Show them that there are some positive developments taking place because of the funds you have been receiving.
For instance, if you are raising funds for an individual who needs surgery and rehabilitation, start by setting a goal to collect the surgery costs. Once done, show your donors that their donations have empowered the story’s hero.
As you start sharing the after-surgery and recovery updates, the donors will feel happy that their contributions are having a positive impact. The donors start trusting your cause, and they are now ready to pay again for their hero to rehabilitate and lead a better life.
Now that you have built trust among the donors, you need to make them aware that the fight is far from over. This is where you lead them to a long-term association and convert them into loyal donors. Encourage them to opt for recurring donations.
For example, if you are collecting funds for disaster victims, your immediate concern is to find them temporary shelter and food arrangements. Once you have raised donations for it and are successful in arranging food and shelter, the next step is to help them rebuild their lives. This is not something that can be done instantly.
A recurring donation drive can help you raise funds over an extended period. You now decide the challenges and set a fundraising goal accordingly. Funds coming in regularly can help you rebuild the lives of the disaster victims, one step at a time. It also encourages you to make better decisions for them when you know you have a regular funding source to rely on.
The tale here is neither "the end" nor "to be continued," but rather a "new beginning."
Storytelling is central to your fundraising campaign. There are a plethora of ways to get your story in front of someone, no matter where they live, or which language they speak.
Now that you know the impact a story can have, let’s see how and where to include it in your fundraising campaigns.
Don’t just thank the donor for their contribution. Mention how their donation has significantly impacted the recipient or the cause. Include a short video to connect donors with recipients.
Don’t just send cold emails to potential donors to tell them about what your organization does. Instead, use videos or images to tell them the story of why you are seeking donations and what impact the funds can have on the cause.
The fundraising landing page is where your story needs to generate the maximum impact. Create online donation page and include videos, images, and a fundraising goal tracker for maximum impact.
A newsletter connects and keeps donors updated on the activities of your organization. Make sure you introduce the readers to new causes you support, how donors can fund these causes, and the impact of the funds on the causes. This makes it easy for donors to donate for a cause now or even convert the one-time donation into a long-term association.
Introduce stories of recipients and causes when you schedule virtual or in-person events. If you are holding a large event, ensure you get at least one beneficiary as a guest speaker. Let them tell their story directly to the audience to maximize the impact and compel them to donate for the cause now.
The best way to increase recurring donations for your cause is to meet potential donors one-on-one and introduce them to the cause through storytelling.
Social media channels attract a larger audience across all age ranges. Spread the word about your cause on the platforms where your audience is present. Make use of the social channel’s features such as reels, hashtags, and locations to maximize its impact.
Repurpose your content to fit different formats. For instance, you can use longer videos at events. But reduce it to anecdotes when sharing it on social media.
Storytelling is an art, and it isn’t easy to get it right all the time. There isn’t a fixed format for creating storytelling videos. Experiment with different forms and analyze which of them resonates with your target audience. Here are some tips for creating storytelling videos for your fundraising campaigns.
Use storytelling as a tool to inform the audience about why they need to donate and what impact the donations will have on the cause or the recipient.
Not all audiences are aware of the cause and why it needs attention. For instance, if you are collecting funds for the treatment of a rare disease, you need to first educate the audience about the disease and the treatments available to justify your fundraising goal.
A fine example is the awareness of ALS. This Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease came to the forefront due to the highly popular and viral Ice Bucket Challenge. The funds raised through the challenge are being used for research and to find a cure for ALS.
As in every story, your volunteers are the side characters that lend weight to the story. Don’t just tell the story through the eyes of the recipient. Broaden what you have to offer and reach and connect with donors in unique ways. Involve your staff and volunteers in storytelling. Share personal details of why they wake up every morning and show up to work for the cause.
There is no point in emotionally draining potential donors to evoke sympathy. You wouldn’t want to showcase the hero crying and pleading for donations in the entire video. Instead, have some light moments where the central character is happy when they see some positive outcomes.
Behind-the-scenes or bloopers are fun ways to interact with your donors and show the human side of your brand. In between the storytelling videos, don’t forget to share fun videos where your volunteers are having a fun conversation with the recipient. This makes your storytelling more lively and prevents it from becoming emotionally monotonous.
The best place to put stories for fundraising is on your fundraising page. Use the services of good fundraising software to create an online donation page. Include images and videos on the page to maximize the impact and compel visitors to donate to the cause.
GivingX is custom fundraising software with advanced features to help you set up a fundraising page or embeddable custom fundraising forms. It lets you give donors the flexibility to select from 125+ secured payment gateways. It has the best donor management CRM to help you manage your donor base with ease.
The best part about GivingX is its low platform fee of 1.45%. This is inclusive of its Zapier integration. You get access to free unlimited integrations through Zapier on GivingX to help you in the A-Z of fundraising, from creating campaigns to managing them effectively.
Also, the fundraising software has an automatic translation tool to convert the landing page content into a language that your audience speaks. This will help you maximize its impact and increase recurring donations. GivingX’s features and pricing make it the best choice for creating your fundraising page or form.
How are you planning to get your story across to the audience? We recommend creating a landing page or form on the custom fundraising software GivingX first. Go through its features so that you have an idea of how you can incorporate your story into the fundraising page. Get started now.