The Value of a Great Story-
March 24, 2016 Lynette Garet Marketing 0 Comment
How Story Telling can Raise the bar on Donations to Your Nonprofit
A story, when told well, has the ability to touch the reader, perhaps evoking an empathetic response in them. When this kind of storytelling is leveraged properly by a nonprofit, that empathy can turn into real dollars in the form of donations to the cause.
Recently, a man names James Robertson made national headlines, as much for his humble, genuine attitude and work ethic as for his astounding story. Every day, for the past 10 years, Robertson has walked an incredible 21 miles roundtrip to get to work. Since the day his car broke down, he has made the trek, often in the dead of winter in Michigan, so reach his job at a factory.
When a local paper highlighted his plight in an article, it didn’t take long for the story to go viral. Overnight, three crowdfunding efforts sprung up in the hope of securing Robertson a safe, reliable vehicle to get to and from work every day. Three ended up being combined, and in the end, they raised over $80,000 in donations for the Detroit man. Robertson was also gifted with a new car from a local dealership, but not before hundreds of offers of vehicles and rides were made.
This story – the person behind it, his daily struggle and his amazing attitude despite his hardships – hit all the points necessary to provoke action in others. When one hears of James, and his determination and hard work, it’s hard not to feel for the man and wish to help. In this case, it paid off in spades, and Robertson will be set to comfortably and safely get to work from here on out. Nonprofits can make use of this kind of storytelling to drive donations, as well.
Often, a nonprofit serves a local community, in particular, a disenfranchised or helpless group. Although other members of the community may be aware of what the nonprofit stands for and just who it aids, it tends to be unlikely that they will go out of their way and remember to help, unless reminded somehow. A great story can do just that.
If a nonprofit can reach out to some of the individuals it focuses on helping and get their story, it gives the organization something to share that others can connect with on an emotional level. Instead of hearing that your nonprofit helps underprivileged children learn to read, they learn about Sarah, who loves books but whose mother can’t afford them for her on their tight budget. Or about Jack, the puppy who was found in a garbage can behind a shopping center, but who now has a happy new home thanks to your organization’s adoption efforts.
Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit who knows exactly how to make use of this kind of storytelling, so much so that they offer a monthly magazine filled with such inspiring tales of animals overcoming the odds, thanks to the organization’s help. By putting an actual face and name to the nonprofit, possible supporters can identify and connect on a personal level with these animals, making the likelihood that they reach for the checkbook much greater than a simple article listing the ways in which Best Friends helps animals.
Nonprofits should reach out to their networks to identify those who may like to share their stories, in an effort to help gain not only more attention for the organization, but more contributions as well. A well told tale of how your nonprofit is putting donations to good use not only drives people to donate, but builds confidence amongst the community that those donations are being put to good use.