How to Use Storytelling to Fundraise Online

maddiegrant
Maddie Grant social strategist, SocialFish

Posted on June 18th 2013

How to Use Storytelling to Fundraise Online

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As the Internet continues to grow, it is becoming harder and harder for nonprofits, and especially associations, to fundraise online. The number of scam fundraisers on the Internet that aim to steal people’s money has grown tremendously, making it more difficult for those with a good cause to preserve credibility unless they’re already established as a big brand. Donators are wary of giving to causes ever since scandals have rocked the web.

As a nonprofit or association, what can you do to ensure your establishment comes across as credible and truthful? Storytelling – as unlikely as it may seem – comes in handy if you do it correctly. Let’s take a look as the best methods to use storytelling to fundraise. The story can be the story of your cause and how it started, or any story you deem relevant.

1. Appeal to Emotions

While its great to throw in some statistics and numbers about your organization, donors want more heart and feel. Grab their attention by appealing to their lives and their emotions and then maybe throw in some facts if they get more interested.

Have you ever thought about why some videos for charitable causes really pack a punch? For example, the SPCA created a heart wrenching video that brought some viewers to tears and they felt like they had no choice but to pick up the phone to donate. That is their story, and yours can be just as good.

2. Don’t Overload

While it might be great to shove a bunch of information about your brand into the story, try to stick to the essentials. Paint a small picture (figuratively) that your audience will be able to take with them and remember you by.

12 Palm’s Recovery Centers have shown that this is a great way to gain new clients. They briefly go over the facts and statistics of success rates with their patients to catch their attention. Then, when the client commits, more information is given out.   Their information pyramid makes all of the “medical” jargon much more retainable.

3. Be More Than Good

If you’re a nonprofit or association, chances are you’re doing good things for society. That much is obvious. Unfortunately, that is not enough when it comes to fundraising for your cause. If it were, there would be no need to fundraise! What you can do to help this is find that good backstory, something that is unique to your brand or to its founders. This will pique emotion in the potential donor and give them a bigger reason to donate.

Havahart is a business whose story is humanely removing animals from your home. This is short and sweet and gets their point across. People know them for this, and are more likely to go to them when they are looking for services that support humane animal trapping versus death to the unknowing critters.

As a nonprofit or association, you will need to fundraise and draw in support from as many as you can.  Storytelling is a great way to do this. If you follow these tips you are bound to increase your success rate in gaining funds and garnering support for your cause.

If you know of any good tactics that would benefit others, let us know in the comments below.

maddiegrant

Maddie Grant

social strategist, SocialFish

Author of Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World. Partner at SocialFish, a consulting firm that helps nonprofits and membership organizations navigate the social web.
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