Write (and Tell) Your Story
How many times have you been neatly dressed and all prepared to meet a potential donor? You have your materials nicely packed and ready for show. You are ready to dazzle the prospect with tons of information you think is great about your organization and cause. Statistics and facts are pouring out of your body. In your mind, you have every base covered. You have all of the information you think others long to hear. In effect, you are the perfect robot designed for failure and you don't even realize it.
I just attended a Summit Marketing Strategic Fundraising Symposium in Savannah, Ga. What a beautiful place to visit. The highlight of the trip besides the education learned was the evening I visited the location where Tom Hanks sat on a bench during "Forest Gump." And I enjoyed eating at Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons Restaurant before the bench visit.
The business part of the trip was listening to dedicated and talented individuals speak to professionals, including me, encouraging us to think about disseminating information in a different way.
In this symposium we learned about the impact of storytelling and the effect it has on prospects. Using music, videos, social media and real-life experiences, Summit Marketing professionals told us we need to open the window to emotion when presenting information to prospects. They told us where stories come from and how to rethink stories in a digital world. They noted we are visual learners, and sight reinforces sound.
They also taught us how to bring to life stories that inspire. We heard a variety of guest speakers tell their personal stories relating to the mission of various charities they represented. I understood that facts were important, but of greater importance was who communicated these facts, how they communicated this information and what was communicated. The key to communication success is expressing emotion and visual impact.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.