The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Get More from Your Story

It’s no secret that powerful stories are the root of the most successful fundraising appeals. In December, a compelling story will likely be the difference between a message that gets results and one that falls flat.

How do you get the most out of your stories for your year-end fundraising campaigns? Keep these principles in mind.

Identify your core message.

An effective campaign will include a series of communications that connect to one central theme and message. What is the most important thing you want donors to know this year? All of your outreach, visuals, stories, and conversations should create a consistent drumbeat around this key point. This will reinforce your message and build excitement and urgency. Once you’ve identified your core message, print it out and constantly check everything you do against it. Do all of the elements of your campaign stay true to your core message? If not, rework them.

Illustrate your story.

To bring your story to life, go beyond basic text. Your online audience is more likely to engage with and remember a photo or video vs. straight text. These elements can highlight important points, make your message stand out, and help your work become real for your readers. Keep this in mind: your photos and videos don’t need to be expensive or have a high production value to be effective. Authenticity trumps slick when it comes to inspiring action.

Invite your community to speak.

Your stories must be authentic and relatable, and these are often the stories that come directly from your community of beneficiaries, donors and volunteers. Tap your supporters and the people you serve (when possible) to help you tell your stories this year. Testimonials and first-person accounts are powerful ways to command attention and inspire action. By adding these to your appeals, you connect your supporters more directly to the impact they can
have.

Include a strong opening.

What good is your story if no one bothers to read it? An intriguing intro will command attention and draw readers into your message. Your opening may include envelope copy and email subject lines, as well as the first line of your appeal. Create a curiosity gap that forces your readers to continue, and then seal the deal with a clear call to action.

Want help writing an effective appeal that brings in more donations?

Download the archived webinar all about crafting a winning fundraising appeal with a strong story. In this session, I was joined by Rachel Brown of Cultural Data Project, who will help you take your story to the next level and combine it with program data to create a compelling case for giving that you can use in grant applications, funding requests, and more. Get the slides and the recording now!

Raise More This Year with Easy-to-Use Fundraising Software that Gets Results

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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