Drive Your Donors With a Resonating Brand Story
NEW YORK CITY—Donors are looking for more than a good mission statement. In a world where the younger generations are dominating the charitable giving scene, nonprofits have no choice but to adapt to this new landscape. And this landscape is predominantly focused on one thing: social impact.
In a world with millions and millions of nonprofits fighting for the same dollars, how is your nonprofit fitting into the robust ecosystem? In the same vein, is what your nonprofit doing resonating with your audience? Gone are the days that people give to organizations because they think it’s a good cause. People are looking for significance… they are looking for community… and they’re looking for social impact.
What message is your nonprofit conveying? Sure, its mission is to save the lives of animals. But the next nonprofit is also saving the lives of animals. The difference is that they have a strategy that ties each donor to each animal rescue. The donor is the hero who saves the lives of these helpless animals. This is the significance of your brand’s story. If your organization’s message is all over the place, how will the donor understand what your organization is fighting for and where they fit in?
You heard about the importance of a nonprofit’s story from Rod Arnold at the Growth for Good NYC Digital Nonprofit Fundraising Conference. That topic was further elaborated on by none other than Viktoria Harrison, VP of Creative at charity:water.
Who Is the Hero of Your Story?
While every story has a hero, what’s even more important is the transformation that the hero goes through. “I believe that the bigger the transformation, the better the story. The bigger the transformation that you can offer to your hero (to your donor), to better their story is with your brand,” Harrison said.
Say, your nonprofit’s mission is to saves the lives of animals. There are at least 10 other nonprofits in your surrounding that have that same mission, but what will elevate your brand among the others is your story. What are you trying to change, what makes your nonprofit different and what makes potential donors resonate with your nonprofit?
To paint a clearer picture, Harrison used examples of from the for-profit world:
- Airbnb. The hero in its story says that hotels are cold and impersonal, but if you book with Airbnb, you will feel like you belong anywhere in the world. The feeling of belonging is what Airbnb has built its brand on.
- Starbucks. The hero says I will feel like I’m a part of a community. The brand’s story is that if you buy coffee at a Starbucks’ store anywhere in the world, you will feel a sense of community, which is more than just selling coffee or tea.
A nonprofit’s mission can be simple, but creating a hero with a big transformation can draw more heroes (donors) in. charity:water provides people clean water to drink, but its brand goes beyond just providing clean water; the bigger part is that it conveys giving people hope and a better future. For example, it conveys moms who don’t have to break their backs walking long distances for water anymore.
Another nonprofit example Harrison used is God’s Love We Deliver. Any organization can convey that if a donor gives to the organization, the donor is helping provide nutritious home-cooked meals for people. God’s Love conveys that if a donor gives to its organization, the donor is helping not only provide these nutritious meals, but they are sending out God’s love to those who need it most.
So take a look at your nonprofit. What story is your organization (brand) conveying? Is it one that will stick out to potential donors and make them think, “That’s THE organization I want to give to regularly because this is THE community that I identify with”?
Harrison asks, “What does this look like for your organization? What is the great big transformation that you can take your heroes on?”
If you're interesting in learning more about crafting your brand's story, come out to NonProfit POWER, a brand-new event coming to you this summer by NonProfit PRO, where Rod Arnold will be speaking on key strategies on crafting your brand's story. Learn more about NonProfit POWER here.
Nhu Te is senior content manager at Fundraise Up, the AI-powered online donation platform for enterprise nonprofits. In her work, she focuses on helping nonprofits create more impact through personalized donor relations, digital fundraising and thoughtful use of technology.