Nonprofits need fundraising to function. Organizations that exist for social good rely on donations to accomplish their life-saving missions. The number one question we’re asked is “how do we spread the word about what we do and get more donations?” It’s a valid question. But before we help crack the code, you’re probably wondering who we are.
Fifty & Fifty is a marketing agency that uses creative thinking and expertise for good. We work with charities all over the world as they launch, pivot, and grow – helping with everything from outreach and communications objectives to smashing fundraising goals.
We’re passionate about social causes that help vulnerable individuals, families, and communities who find themselves in unsafe or unhealthy conditions. We’re also the strategic marketing agency of choice for many global nonprofits including the United Nations Development Programme and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Here at Fifty & Fifty we believe in emotional storytelling. When you’re not motivated by money as much as purpose and passion, you appeal to donors by pulling on their heartstrings. We don’t mean that in a gimmicky way (although “clicktivism” has its time and place), but an authentic one.
In fact, studies show that people who feel more sympathy and worry for others are more likely to donate.
So how can you make your NPO fundraising story more emotional?
Here are our top 5 ways:
1. Share their names
While it’s great that over 10,000 people may be impacted by your work, most people feel overwhelmed by numbers that large. There’s a time and place for metrics, but when it comes to opening our wallets, you’re more likely to see results if you name your recipients.
Here’s where our donor segmentation checklist comes in handy. How old are they? Where do they live? You’ll start to paint a picture of who you’re really helping, and donors want to know that their money makes a difference.
2. Focus on one person and dive deep
It’s even better to hone in on just one person because it’s much easier for us to imagine ourselves in their shoes. What’s their story? How has your NPO helped them? Can you get a direct quote and share that on your social media or in your newsletter?
3. Include pictures (bonus points for video!)
Nothing shows the impact of meaningful work like photos of the people who directly benefit. People love putting faces to names. Video content is even better. For example, this incredible woman went viral on TikTok helping the children in her Zambian village.
If you want to dive deep, check out How Can Nonprofit Development Directors Mobilize Social Media Followers?
4. Put something tangible behind each donation amount
Show your donors what $10 can do, such as purchasing one notebook for a student. Show them what $100 can do as well. Perhaps it can fund three months’ worth of their school supplies. It helps donors visualize their impact and shows them how their contribution helps on an individual level.
5. Share your brand story, too
Explaining the history of how and why your organization got started is a great way to gain interest—especially if someone on the team was personally affected by the same circumstances you are working to fix.
Our client Pallet Shelter is the perfect example – many of their employees have experienced homelessness themselves and can relate to their recipients.
These 5 tips for emotional nonprofit storytelling just scratch the surface of a few of our tried and true methods. Fine-tuning our clients’ fundraising messages and telling a more effective, inspirational story is one of our core strengths.
Get in touch with Fifty & Fifty to see how we may help you support your social cause with fundraising storytelling!
6. Choose fundraising ideas that rely on storytelling
While all fundraising ideas have the potential to make a difference in your cause, not all of them lend themselves to storytelling. The most impactful fundraisers are those that expressly rely on storytelling to raise money. For instance, consider the following fundraising ideas:
- Keynote storytelling event. Gather your supporters together, whether online or in person, to hear a speaker discuss your nonprofit’s impact in this TED Talk-style event. Invite speakers who are well-known in your community and who have fascinating stories to tell—even better if you have a mainstream celebrity as a guest. You can charge admission or simply request donations from the attendees at the end of the event.
- Storytelling wall. Commemorating your nonprofit’s beneficiaries is important to securing long-term engagement. Bring your community together by creating a storytelling wall on your website. Allow people who benefit from your projects and services to post their stories for free. Then, promote the wall to donors and allow them to purchase a block on the wall to share their own experiences with your nonprofit. This allows people who benefit from your services to be heard and provides a unique way for donors to rally behind them.
- Monthly storytelling club. You can add an exclusive newsletter as a perk for your monthly giving program. In this newsletter, include an in-depth story from someone your nonprofit supports and tie it back to your current initiatives. This encourages monthly donations and gives donors a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how their donations are being used to make a difference.
Ensure that the focus always stays on the people your nonprofit is supporting, not on your organization. They should be the protagonists of each story you share with your community so donors can put a face and a name to your cause, building an important emotional connection.