When it comes to nonprofit donations, one question comes up a lot from donors: “How exactly will my money be used?”
Many nonprofits try to anticipate this question by providing infographics on their fundraising materials. For example, donate $25 for a box of diapers, or donate $50 for a week’s worth of formula for one baby.
These strategies work to some extent, but have you considered telling your donors a story? And not just any story – the story of their money.
Whether you’re appealing for donations or thanking donors for giving, tell supporters the story of how their money will make a difference. Doing so will increase the chances that they’ll give again.
Take the “Whole Brain Approach”
Social Solutions suggests that nonprofit donations can soar if fundraisers make appeals to both the emotional and logical sides of donors’ brains. Potential donors will be drawn to your nonprofit by “emotionally-gripping stories,” which increase donors’ empathy toward beneficiaries.
You should also take your donors a step farther by appealing to the logical side of their brains. Provide hard and fast data that shows how donations will help (or have already helped) your organization meet achievable goals. Framing your story with this strategy will allow donors to understand your full picture and increase their potential buy-in.
Showcase Success Stories
Convince your donors that their money made a difference by telling the story of the results. For example, perhaps you held a fundraiser to create a park in place of a litter-filled space behind your community center. In the park, you planned to provide safe, outdoor activities for the at-risk youth in your programs.
After the park opened, you could tell your donors stories about the students who engage in free, safe play. You could highlight stories of the older kid who takes on a leadership role, or the younger, shy kid who blossoms when given the chance to participate. If donors hear these individual stories, they’ll know that their money served a good purpose and be more likely to give again.
Make Annual Reports Tell a Visual Story
Almost no one wants to read annual reports. They are usually just as boring to read as they are to write. However, the information in them is so important because it tells donors exactly where their money went and just what the organization has achieved.
This is where you throw out all the rules and conventions that your Report Writing professor taught you and instead use your annual report as a chance to tell your organization’s story. How? Include a lot of pictures.
Include colorful infographics that explain how nonprofit donations have been distributed. You can even create separate charts for each fundraiser. Since the majority of your readers will look at this report online, let readers click on images to enlarge them. Keeping in mind Social Solutions’ advice, follow up those charts with stories about how the programs and beneficiaries that received those funds changed for the better.
When donors hand you their money, they want to believe you are using it for the objectives you’ve promised, and that it will achieve the goals you’ve set. Presenting donors with the “story” of their money’s journey, from the urgent need it is meant to serve to the results it helped produce, will help you build a relationship of trust and integrity with your donors – two key elements of lasting relationships.