Hollywood movers and shakers have learned the value of telling a good story well (or even telling a bad story well), and that value is big.
During the 2015 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference, Rob Wu of CauseVox and Christina Russo of the Louis August Jonas Foundation said that Hollywood storytelling might be employed for nonprofit crowdfunding.
For example, they offered these classic storylines:
Overcoming the monster. Embrace being the underdog. If there’s no clear antagonist, define the enemy or threat. Rally supporters by showing them what the enemy can do.
Rags to riches. Tell the story of a disadvantaged dancer who makes it to Broadway. Tell how the arts help cancer survivors. Look for opportunities to tell personal narratives or testimonials.
The quest. Think of the organization’s mission as a quest, and map out the journey (even literally), recruit companions and stock up on supplies. Get supports to tell stories of their journey via personal fundraising pages.
Tragedy. Tread lightly with sad and dark storytelling to avoid the dreaded “poverty or charity porn.” Be strategic with imagery and personal stories to make a point and show what happens if the organization doesn’t make progress on its mission.