Guest Post: The Number 1 Tip For Great Storytelling When Fundraising

The most successful charities know that in order to attract donations, they need to tell interesting and engaging stories. We as humans need stories; they help us relate and make sense of information.

After seeing countless fundraisers fall-short, meet or exceed their goals, the one thing that differentiates the great ones from the rest is how that story is delivered.

Very few people want to read reams and reams of text. What people want is a story to be told to them, in-person or by the convenient medium of video. And that doesn’t mean a slideshow with a voiceover – it means seeing a real person with a passion talking through the cause, explaining its importance and how a donation can make a difference.

Aside from seeing the success of this method on the fundraising website I run, the recent cause-based viral video titled Kony 2012 demonstrates the power of personal videos that talk through a cause with passion.

The creator of the Kony video, Jason Russell, introduces us to his child and family in the most personal manner. He’s a likeable character and we feel his passion as he explains the issues at hand in great detail. Once we’re involved in his story, the video ends with the simple call to action to get involved and share. The result? To date, his video has had over 96 million views and received worldwide attention.

Now it’s hard to replicate viral success but by following the fundamentals your message will spread further. It’s simply a case of being genuine, personal and sharing your passion through video.

Well, what kind of fundraising video should you create? In my experience and geeky analysis, I found that it’s best to spend the majority of time highlighting the importance of the cause, why it matters and why it’s worth the donor’s time. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s not created by a premium production team – in fact, a few quirks can even make it feel that little more personal.

Once it’s ready, it’s easy to complement your standard fundraising message with this video. Embed it on your fundraising page, add it to your website and share it by email.

Do you have any tips for spreading your fundraising message by video??? Leave them in the comments below.

 


headshot_new
Written by Sandip Sekhon
CEO & Founder of Go Get Funding
You can connect with Sandeep via:
Facebook | Twitter

Sandip is currently working on medical fundraising website CauseWish which will host a unique community and is due to launch in February 2013.

Guest Post: Is storytelling really the answer for your charity???

I am thrilled to add this new post to What Gives??? by our second guest blogger Brock Warner.  I “met” Brock through one of his many initiatives, Young Non-Profit Professionals (of which he is co-chair).  He is bright, enthusiastic, energetic, and full of knowledge.  I couldn’t be more delighted to have him write for What Gives??? and hope to have him involved more in the future!  Without further ado…

~~~

A lot has, is, and will continue to be said about the need for charities to tell great stories. That’s because good advice bears repeating. Stories tickle a part of our brains that statistics can’t.

Most charities understand this. But unfortunately, just telling a story isn’t enough. You need to do it well. Very, very well.

A great storyteller becomes the story. They look their audience in the eye. They take their audience on a journey. They tell their best stories over, and over, and over. They keep what works, and cut the fat. They carry you up to a triumphant high, and catch you at the desperate lows.

About a year ago I was lucky enough to give a TEDx presentation. And I do mean lucky. I’m just getting started in my career. It should be someone with 25 years of experience on the TEDx stage, not 2.5 years. But I ignored my lizard brain, and went for it.

The 20 second version of my talk is that successful charities are successful because they told great stories and reaped the benefits. In the past there were a handful of ways to tell stories, but digital technology has since changed the game. Now, charities that can multiply the emotional impact of their stories across channels, rather than divide it, are going to be the charities of choice for the next generation of supporters.

If I could do it all over again I would emphasize even further that storytelling is a skill like any other that you need to learn, practice, and hone indefinitely.

So, is storytelling really the answer for your charity??? Of course it is. And of course, you need to do everything else it takes to run an effective and efficient charity, but we’ll leave that for another blogger to tackle.

I’m always on the lookout for great examples. You can get in touch with me on Twitter @brockwarner, or post them right here on What Gives???.

And if you haven’t seen it, here is my TEDx talk:

Note from the Author: Because I am so proud of the video, and while I’ve got the chance I’d love to publicly thank my wife for being so supportive, Frankie Chow for suggesting I submit a speaker application, Margaux Smith for rehearsing with me in my living room, and everyone that has watched it. And of course, thanks Maeve for letting me guest post on What Gives???. You’re all awesome.


Written by Brock Warner

Fundraiser @WarChildCan and blogger at http://iamafundraiser.com

You can connect with Brock via:
Twitter | LinkedIn

Lift your message above the torrent

Lift your message above the torrent (1)

I just read a great article via www.charityinfo.ca“Winston Churchill – a Twitter natural?”

Please enjoy Janet Gadeski’s piece for yourself, but in essence she is discussing taking the power of Twitter to what we do in fundraising.

What is the power of Twitter? What some argue is the deterioration of the English language (or any language) and our ability to express ourselves, I would argue is actually a very positive and neat evolution of expression.

On Twitter – if you didn’t already know – all posts (tweets) have to be 140 characters or less; it’s called microblogging. Yes, sometimes I take shortcuts by typing “U” instead of “You”, and yes, sometimes I use sentence fragments, but that’s just utilizing my precious characters carefully. Moreover, as Gadeski says, it’s about packing a punch in your tweets and turning them into “pithy, memorable” messages, and that’s not easy!

My high school English teacher once quoted Mark Twain (though I may be attributing this to the wrong author) from a letter he’d written to a friend: “I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead”. My teacher quoted this after assigning us a 200-word paper — not exactly tough when I consider the lengthy papers I’ve written before, but as we all know, it’s easier to blather on with no word limit than it is to make a really solid point in a confined space.

When I say bringing the power of Twitter to fundraising, I don’t mean tweeting to your donors, though that’s good, too! I mean working to create short, to-the-point, concise messages.

As Gadeski writes, “Pithy, memorable messages – just what we want as fundraisers. In our accelerated world, even an elevator speech may be too long to remain in the brain. Every day, thousands of messages stream towards your donors, in every medium in the brain. You may be retreating as far as you can from the whole notion of Twitter, but you have to admit that conciseness will lift your messages above that torrent.”

Follow me @fundraisermaeve!


Written by Maeve Strathy

Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising since 2007.

Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Email