The Only Story Non-Profits Need to Tell

“Let Me Tell You a Story…”

Six words. That is all it takes to simultaneously relax and engage your audience at the beginning of any conversation, presentation or pitch. It drops guards, engages attention and piques interest. And when it comes to engaging potential donors, that is the exact response for which you are looking.

However, non-profits tend to view their organization’s story as a “nice to have” vs. a “need to have” leaving donor communication muddled, filled with jargon and poorly communicated. What most non-profits fail to see is that a compelling narrative is the key ingredient to successful fundraising. This seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, yes and no.

A good story coveys information. A great story involves transformation of lives and allows donors (who aren’t direct beneficiaries of the donation) to engage with those they are helping in a direct way, even if it is second-hand.

Think about it, in the for-profit world there is a direct exchange of goods and felt value. You trade money for a good or service. You have now received the good/benefit from it and they have the money. Both parties have received value out of the exchange. For a successful interaction with a non-profit donor, a similar exchange needs to take place. But what can a non-profit offer their donors to allow for the feeling of “value for the exchange”?

By offering a donor a clear, relevant story that conveys how their contribution has or will impact lives, the felt value gap is addressed leaving the donor feel they have been a part of something meaningful.

And a donor that feels they have made a meaningful contribution is the best foundation for an ongoing relationship between them and the organization. If you learn to tell THAT story, its the only story you will ever need to tell.

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