Real stories are important to capture and communicate because they are more relatable than pure facts, more believable than typical marketing messages and more powerful than anything you could manufacture. And having a great story is one thing, but telling your story effectively means more than just having a mission statement (though that’s important!). It’s a quick, easy-to-repeat summation of your nonprofit’s purpose, method and urgency that conveys the value and importance of the good work you do. More than that, it’s something every member of your organization can recite from heart and feels emotionally compelled to share.
Successful campaigns share these 5 nonprofit storytelling essentials:
- A compelling character:
A picture’s worth a thousand words. Maybe more if the picture conveys the need and the urgency of your cause. Put a face on your campaign and help your donors connect emotionally to someone they’ll help by donating.
- Highlight the need:
Explain the need. Illustrate the urgency. (e.g. The character has an undiagnosed illness and limited access to healthcare and transportation.)
- “Bring on the feels” / Make an emotional connection:
People give to people, remember… Make the character’s need real and urgent. Appeal to the emotions of your donors and show, don’t tell.
- Give your donors something to do:
Turn your stories into results with simple, clear next steps in the form of compelling calls-to-action:
- Invest in measuring your impact and results:
Leverage free tools whenever possible, like UTM links and Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc., and enterprise solutions like iDonate’s advanced donor analytics system to test different messages, track campaigns, attribute results to marketing channels and communicate insights within your organization.