Leave the Story Better Than You Found It
Successful fundraising professionals are storytellers.
This resonated this week at the Peabody Awards in New York City. The awards acknowledge excellence in electronic media — and are recognized by the industry insiders as most prestigious.
In closing, host Scott Pelley, anchor for "The CBS Evening News," spoke of the web of stories that were told by the winners from radio, TV and the Internet. Stories that moved the human spirit.
Effective fundraisers are storytellers, no matter what the platform.
At the recent Engage Conference hosted by FundRaising Success in Philadelphia (don't miss this next year!), the campaign case studies again reinforced the importance of effective storytelling, this with a focus on direct-response appeals.
One of the biggest challenges and opportunities is coaching volunteers and staff to be able to bring to life an organization's mission and effectiveness — by showing the impact.
We often struggle with what to call a campaign volunteer — we prefer ambassador or storyteller to solicitor.
A great higher education leader, Cully Clark of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia cast "the year of the story" as the theme for his final year as dean.
He has invited donors to be a part of the story. That is what we want. Donors to become so committed and involved that they feel a part of the great work that you are doing.
And, he has challenged us "to leave the story better than you found it." What a high calling for us as fundraising professionals and the donors and volunteers we are privileged to work with.
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.