4 Steps To ‘Once Upon A Time’

While nonprofit work isn’t all slaying dragons and saving princesses, your donor wants to think it is. Telling good stories helps your organization retain donors and have concrete evidence of the impact you’re making every day.

Turn a new leaf and start writing on a fresh page to encourage donors to stay interested in your organization’s mission.

At the recent Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference in National Harbor, Md., Mark D. Hofman, CFRE, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and Heather R. McGinness, CFRE, Meyer Partners presented “Creating a Culture of Storytelling.” In this session, the pair gave advice on perfecting your “Once Upon a Time…” Their advice included:

  • Establish what the story’s purpose is in fundraising — eEducating, informing, inspiring, convincing, and promoting are some common purposes;
  • To capture stories, have program staff meet with donors and pay attention to notes accompanying gifts. For The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, the $36 proceeds from 8-year-old Abby’s bake sale created an excellent story. A letter detailing the story of Abby’s bake sale yielded at 7.1 percent greater response rate than their control “forgettable” letter;
  • Whatever story you tell should establish your donor as the hero, not your organization; and,
  • Develop a “story” bank by saving stories for future use. Additionally, a small library of “Well…that didn’t work” stories allows a reference point to avoid making the same mistake twice.