The marketing and advertising landscapes have rapidly changed to adapt to our digital world – and fundraising trends have changed right along with them. People are no longer interested in one-way broadcast communication; instead, people want brands to be in line with their values and lifestyle. As humans, we have always been wired to respond to stories – but storytelling is more important than it’s ever been to capture and retain donors. WitMark works with and volunteers for a variety of nonprofit clients – from the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara to Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association to the Santa Barbara Zoo so we are very familiar with great storytelling! Here’s how to use storytelling to buoy your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. 

1. Be Specific 

Instead of using broad terms in order to appeal to the most people (this is a poor audience targeting strategy, anyway) – be specific about the issues that your nonprofit is addressing and how they’re being tackled. Donors need to know that they are making a real impact on real situations. This is where specificity is your friend. Details bring a story alive – making it compelling, relatable, and effective. 

 2. Be Personal 

While numbers and statistics can be impressive or demonstrate scope, people don’t empathize with spreadsheets – people empathize with people. You can use a technique called the “power of one”, in which you identify a character for your audience to follow. Tell their story. Share their dreams, what has gotten in the way of them flourishing, and how your nonprofit steps in to support them. Allow your audience to visualize and relate to this individual and show them how they can help. 

3. Be Authentic 

Don’t try to copy what has made other brands successful. Instead, tell YOUR story. Tell your origin story, what inspired your nonprofit into existence, who you’ve met along the way, and what motivates you to keep going. You have the inside scoop – so use a real and authentic narrative to show donors what you makes you unique and impactful. 

Storytelling is a vital component to running a nonprofit. Not only does an authentic story give donors a reason to believe in the work you’re doing – it keeps them around after they’ve already decided to partner with your organization. Give us a call or shoot us an email to learn more about how storytelling can make an impact for your nonprofit.