When COVID Forces You To Go Virtual, Storytelling Becomes Critical

As we head into year-end giving, organizations face a daunting task. Many programs have been put on hiatus or changed dramatically to meet the new normal. Organizations have begun reinventing themselves, and development programs are almost entirely virtual.

Now, more than ever, storytelling is key to your organization’s ability to thrive.

As you gear up for your year-end drives, now is the time to revisit and, if needed, rethink your strategy. When I sit down to look at organizational communications, these are my four keys to digital storytelling:

Make It Personal

Stats and program ROI are important measurable – but they are just noise to many donors when they become the focus on an appeal. $100 can do (insert result here) is not effective unless the donor cares about who that $100 is helping.

By focusing on the human side of your work and telling personal stories you create an emotional bond between the donor and those you serve. This bond is critical to moving donors to support your organization moving forward.

Show Your Relevance

There is too much hurt going on in the world, and your donors are feeling it. Donor priorities are shifting to address critical needs and fill in gaps in social safety nets. Unless your organization’s work is overtly connected to COVID related needs, and sometimes even then, you need to ensure that your supporters understand the relevance of your work today.

In some cases, it’s a matter of connecting the dots without any need to adjust programming. In other cases, making the case can be far more difficult. Either way, it’s your responsibility to help them see your value and relevance – otherwise, they may not give.

Make Your Donor The Hero Of The Story

Yes, the work you do is essential. But if you want your donors to open their checkbooks you need to make them the hero of this story. Help them understand how their donations make the work you do possible, and how without them, that work could come to a halt. They are saving the day, making a difference, leaping over tall buildings with a single bound.

Heroes feel good about what they have done – and at the end of the day, that’s how you want your donors to feel.

Take Your Time

The key to good storytelling and creating connections is taking your time. Think about the last great book or movie that drew you in – did it start in the middle of the action?

This is no different. Going right into the call to action without establishing the story is a recipe for failure. Sure – you may raise some money, but I guarantee you’re leaving a bunch on the table that you would have gotten if you had taken your time.

How Can I Help You?

Growth and success rely on the art of storytelling, from fundraising communications, to Op-Eds in the local paper and stories on the evening news, to email and social media interactions – how you tell your story is key. I’ve made a career raising critical funds through direct mail, websites, email, and social media. I’ve earned media for organizations I work with, and strategically leveraged resources for the most effective ad buys. I’ve handled crisis communications to national communications in the middle of natural disasters – always focused on ensuring the organization’s mission comes first – and is clearly on display.

You have a lot to get done, quickly. Ask yourself, what do you need to achieve in the next six months, then ask how I can help you make this a reality. Let’s have a conversation!

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