5 key elements to help you get heard. One of the most important things you can do when fundraising for any group is to develop your story. This is the information your supporters need to know about who your group is, just told in a compelling way. It will make your job significantly easier in the end and it will cost you nothing but a little bit of your time. People connect emotionally with a good story, so making sure yours grabs their attention is vital.
Your story is what helps people understand who your group is, what you’re raising money for, and tells them why their support is important. People want to understand and care about the groups they’re giving money to. Crowdfunding sites are proof of the effectiveness of a compelling story. The difference between a successful crowdfunding campaign and one that never reaches their target is the ability to connect the reader with the cause.
So, what are the key elements to telling your group’s story effectively?
- The Basics – It might help to start by listing the key elements of your story in point form and build from there. Ultimately you want to tell your supporters a little about your group including important milestones such as how your group got started, who your members are, any significant accomplishment or struggles you have faced, and what you are raising money for.
- Simplicity – Your story needs to be relatable and engaging but it doesn’t have to be overly long or complex. In fact, you should aim for ‘short and sweet’. The best ones will give you enough information to get you intrigued and then tell you why you should support their group. We want to make sure our message is as concise as possible while still connecting with the audience. This is especially true if you are sharing your story through email where you don’t have face to face connection with your potential supporters.
- Personalized – When we personalize the story and share why it’s important to us as an individual, we can help others feel more connected to our group. People love to see passion for a cause and it can help them feel like they are part of something bigger. Let them know why this organization is so important to you.
- Authentic – Remember the most important thing is speaking from the heart. When small groups fundraise, they are usually approaching friends and family who aren’t as concerned if you followed some structured template or if the perfect grammar was used. Its far more important to tell an authentic story than a ‘perfect” one.
- Wording Matters – Once you have written out your message to supporters, reread it looking for the words “we” and “ours”. Can you replace some of these with “you” and “yours” statements? Many experts in the field recommend using these more personalized words because it gives the reader a sense of inclusion and importance that can translate into increased sales. For example, the statement “You have always been there for this team in the past and with your continued support we will be able to go all the way to Provincials.” is far more compelling than “We would like to go to Provincials this year. Please support our team.” You want your audience to feel like they have the power to make this happen for you, because they do. It’s a small, but significant change that can reap big rewards.
Storytelling takes practice so don’t give up if it takes time to develop your message. Sometimes the best thing you can do after writing is to walk away for a few hours or days. When you reread it, make sure to ask yourself if the story has all the important pieces from step one. Remember that you aren’t just selling a product, you are selling your group. People will give more money and more often to groups they feel personally connected to. Your job is to help them see why they want to be a part of your future. Good luck and happy storytelling.