Donors Want to Make a Difference — Help Them by Sharing Your Stories
People want to make a difference. They want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to leave legacies. They want to be a part of a winning team. They want to be worthwhile members of a worthwhile group. And they want to be sought after— they want to feel important … and needed.
This is all great news for those of us who are passionate about the life-changing impact of giving!
And it is also presents a challenge.
How do we best tell the story of our organization — our impact? We know our story is most powerful when told one life at a time — one family, one student ... one child.
We create the opportunity for a donor to be a part of the story — the solution, a better ending.
But to do this we need the stories. They are no doubt plentiful in your organization, but uncovering them can be a wild goose chase.
We were working with a higher education client and asked for some of these inspirational stories. The ones we received, well, they did not make your heart soar. When the board chair reviewed them, he said, "These leave me pretty empty. Why aren't we telling the story about ...?" And he went on to easily cite three inspiring stories.
Ensure your organization has a system — a routine — for gathering these stories. Not to be filed away, but to be shared regularly. Of course, these stories are most impactful when those who have lived them share them firsthand.
Then, help your volunteers tell the stories like they were their own — because they are.
Finally, don't lead with them, but for those who like numbers (and yes, many of your donors do), have the outcomes and the figures showing how you make an impact — on an individual life — and how that ripples out to impact more. Nonprofits are in the business of changing lives; learn and share your stories and make hearts soar.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.