Let me start this post with a cliché: fundraisers are storytellers.
“Wow, Maeve! Tell us something we don’t know!”
You’re right. We all know the best fundraisers are storytellers. We’re embracing that. We’re all recognizing the power of stories in engaging donors in our causes and showing them the power of philanthropy.
So how come the dollars aren’t pouring in?
Well, it’s not good enough to say we’re storytellers. They have to be the right stories. And they have to be told the right way.
So what are we doing wrong?
I’ll tell you one thing: we’re acting too much like the last piggy.
Yes! You heard me right!
This little piggy went to the market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
And this little piggy went WEE WEE WEE all the way home
Fundraisers are the last piggy.
The one saying WEE WEE WEE.
We are doing this. We are achieving this.
We. We. WE!
It’s not about us. It’s about them.
It’s not about we. It’s about YOU!
You being the donor.
How are we ever going to show donors the power of their philanthropy if we keep telling them about the great things WE are doing?
We have to inspire donors by telling stories about them. Their impact. What they achieve.
Want to see what I mean? Want to see the power of those kinds of stories in action?
Here’s a recent example: Prime Minister Trudeau’s victory speech on October 19th.
I was following the conversation on Twitter on this momentous occasion and my fundraising friends were all saying the same thing: Prime Minister Trudeau is so donor-centric!
Watch this clip to see what I mean.
Are you noticing it? Here’s an extra clip to bring the idea home.
It’s the most powerful word in fundraising: YOU.
Prime Minister Trudeau was telling a story; not just to his donors, but to supporters, voters, and all Canadians. The story wasn’t about his success or the party’s success; it was about what YOU made happen.
Let’s all make sure that’s the story we’re telling our donors, too.
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over eight years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.