Did you know the success of your nonprofit organization starts with your story? That’s right. The story you tell donors, both small and large, will heavily influence how much money you raise, how many donors you retain, and whether you will build a sustainable future for your organization.
When we think of storytelling, we often picture made-up characters, mystical lands, and dangerous plots. While your nonprofit story shouldn’t be fictional or fabricated, it should be compelling and tailored to the audience you are addressing.
Most nonprofit organizations fail to personalize their story to the different donors they reach. This results in the loss of donors and, therefore, donations. Instead of losing the interest of your audience by the second line of your story, learn how to snag their attention and keep them engaged and invested in the positive impact your nonprofit has to offer.
As stated by The Pipeline, “Besides resonating with an audience on a deeper level, storytelling is also an opportunity for you to get creative with your sales pitch and bring some personality to what you are selling.” Think of your nonprofit’s story as the foundation for your pitch. A magnetic impact story will help you capture the hearts of donors to build their interest and buy-in before you ask for a donation.
We’ve gathered our most helpful tips to assist establish an engaging nonprofit story that can be easily adapted to suit the different donors you face.
Nonprofit Storytelling Strategies:
- Tell The Right Story to the Right Audience
- Help Donors Connect with Your Story
- Attend This Virtual DonorPerfect Conference!
- Learn From Other Nonprofits
Tell The Right Story to The Right Audience
If you’re telling the same story to every single one of your nonprofit’s donors or potential contributors, you’re doing it wrong. Think about it. Depending on who the donor is, they will better connect and understand your story if it is tailored to their own expectations and life experiences.
For example, contributors who are more likely to donate their time and connections may need a different angle of your story than donors who are more prone to writing large checks. While your story should come in different versions, it should tell the same truth to all stakeholders. Simply adjust your story depending on your audience.
An individual who is more moved by projects and initiatives may connect better with the version of your story that focuses on those aspects. At the same time, a donor who likes to see data proof of your nonprofit’s impact may need a story that emphasizes those numbers. Both versions of the story may be true, but they lean on certain details to appeal to the different values and personality types of your contributors.
Help Donors Connect with Your Story
Storytelling for nonprofits is all about helping your donors see that they easily belong in the picture alongside your nonprofit. While soaking in your organization’s story, contributors should be able to imagine themselves fitting in with the vibe and atmosphere you’ve created for them.
Imagine yourself painting an image of your nonprofit for your donors. Think about who they are, what motivates them, and what you can say to show them that they belong. To help you get started, try to help your donors answer the following questions regarding their role within your organization.
- Do I belong here?
- Do I see myself in the story?
- How can I contribute to this story?
- Does this nonprofit align with my values?
- Do I feel connected to this nonprofit’s cause?
- Is there room for me to make a lasting impact here?
From your mission statement and impact description to your “About Us” page and nonprofit story, donors should see a bit of themselves represented in those pieces. While creating your nonprofit’s story, try to appeal to every form of donor you encounter. Remember, your story should be adaptable depending on your audience while portraying a consistent overall message.
Attend This Virtual DonorPerfect Conference!
DonorPerfect is a fundraising growth platform dedicated to helping nonprofits achieve their donation and donor retention goals. This year, DonorPerfect has decided to focus their 2022 Community Conference on the power of storytelling.
In these free virtual sessions, you will learn how to spark passion within the hearts of your donors through your nonprofit story. Furthermore, DonorPerfect will teach us all about how to analyze data and utilize digital tools to assist us in formulating the perfect story and adapting it to various audiences.
I’m so excited to announce that I will be presenting in the very first session of the conference! Join Me for my segment about “Does Your Organization Tell the Right Story to the Right Audience?” Then, sign up for any other valuable sessions that pique your interest!
Learn From other Nonprofits
When it comes to storytelling for nonprofits, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Head to the websites of successful nonprofit organizations to gain insight into how they use their story to reach donors at all levels.
The World Wildlife Fund is a renowned nonprofit organization celebrated for its positive impact on communities and wildlife across the planet. Upon reading this nonprofit’s website, you can see that they appeal to many types of donors throughout their web pages.
Right on their homepage, they include statistics demonstrating their most recent positive impacts. Then, they include a call-to-action after each section of their website to entice donors and volunteers to “click” for more information.
Moreover, they provide an “Our Work” section to tell the story of how they’ve taken measurable steps to help wildlife, communities, and environments around the world. Donors and volunteers can also visit the “Get Involved” part of the website to read more about how they can fit in with the nonprofit.
At every turn, WWF has appealed to its various types of donors, contributors, and volunteers. Instead of creating one version of their story, they’ve demonstrated the many angles of their nonprofit to show individual donors where they fit in.
The success of your nonprofit depends on how well your nonprofit story appeals to your potential donors and volunteers. Showing contributors that they belong in the picture with your nonprofit is a surefire way to retain donors and build a long-lasting organization.
I’m deeply passionate about helping nonprofits navigate relationships with donors and achieving strong and beneficial connections. For ongoing information about today’s best practices in running a nonprofit, join me at What the Fundraising and check out my Resources for regularly-posted articles!