Creating a compelling story for fundraising

How to create a compelling story to support people living in adversity or with challenging circumstances.

Let’s start by breaking down the meaning of compelling story … evoking interest or drawing attention in a captivating way. What is the connection between your mission and your funding requirements that will evoke interest? Are your needs relatable in a captivating way?  How do you connect the needs of people in adversity with those living in relative comfort that may feel overwhelmed or helpless to make a difference?

We can’t give you 5 easy steps to do this. It is not easy! One of the most difficult tasks for campaign managers is finding a path to people with the potential to care or activating compassion in those that have the ability to make a difference. What is your compelling story?

We know the most successful non-profit campaigns create situations where potential donors can easily relate to someone who will benefit from their goodwill. Successful campaigns make it easy to contribute time, funds or encourage people to speak up against adversity.

Our attitude towards storytelling:

Avoid connecting to people through guilt, empower people to make a difference.

The Red Cross in the UK does a brilliant job at highlighting how little acts of kindness can go a long way to make a difference without making people feel guilty. In one minute they convince their audience that their kindness is powerful and make it relatable enough for people to donate, volunteer or help someone to get support.

Campaign Video:

Campaign Landing Page:
https://www.redcross.org.uk/kindness/


Highlight cycles of adversity and if needed teach a deeper lesson.

Unicef uses a very simple and strong approach to highlight a cycle spanning generations and how it impacts children today. They ask people to share the story and also clearly explain the crisis, the difference they make on the ground and the need for support.

Campaign Video:

Campaign Landing Page:
https://www.unicef.org/emergencies/syrian-crisis

Show your commitment and challenge audiences to do the same.

Compelling storytelling that touches the heart comes from Keep A Child Alive, highlighting the impact of the challenges they face as an organisation and the difference they make. They also make a clear commitment to see their campaign through to the end and invite their audience to think about what they are committed to: It’s a matter of life.

Campaign Video:

Campaign Landing Page:
http://keepachildalive.org/take-action/

Create relatable scenarios.

Probably one of the hardest hitting videos is the Save the Children campaign showing ordinary daily life gradually turned upside down as adversity finds its way to this community. It demonstrates clearly what children go through on a daily basis in other parts of the world.

Campaign Video:

Campaign Landing Page:
https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/how-you-can-help/emergencies/syria-crisis-appeal

Show what would happen if you didn’t receive the necessary support or funding.
Another hard-hitting video is Doctors Without Borders that clearly demonstrate the impact of lack of funding and resources on communities they support on a daily basis.

Campaign Video:

Campaign Landing Page:
https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm

 

Every organisation’s reason for fundraising is different and creating a compelling story may help you find and engage with people that may be able to help.

Here are key areas to consider:

  • Find a story
    Collect impactful stories from the people you help to include in fundraising initiatives. People contribute more towards impact they can see, hear or feel.
  • Your donors are heroes
    Make sure you let your donors know how important their contributions are. Talk about your achievements and show the people that you helped with donor contributions.
  • Write conversationally
    Don’t alienate your audience with technical terms and formal communication. Be relaxed, community-driven and with purpose. Tell your story as if you are talking to a friend, your neighbour or a family member.
  • Be specific
    Many organisations don’t specifically state what money is used for making it difficult for donors to see progress or to participate. Be clear, why you need the funding, why it is important for you and what difference it makes for people on the ground with easy to understand examples.
  • Choose the right words
    Choose words that will make your fundraising page stand out more. Be thoughtful about the words your choose, the quality of content and if possible use illustrations or infographics to demonstrate the impact of your campaign on landing pages.
  • Be the authority in your cause
    If donors don’t see you as the authority for your campaign, they will be less inclined to convert to a supporter. Highlight the experts and specialists that run your program. Highlight the history you have in a specific area of aid and point out that you use experts to solve the problems.
  • The details motivate compassion and donations
    Be honest, be personal and specific in explaining the situation, the history and the impact of your campaign.
  • Give regular updates
    Let people know on a regular basis how your campaign is progressing. Give examples, video material, photographs, and testimonies of the impact people’s donations are having on the ground.
  • Don’t forget to thank your donors
    Thank your donors for getting involved and showing them what their money contributed towards. Tell them how much it means to you that they decided to take the time to listen to your story and contribute to help make a difference.

Related Posts