EPISODE 4: HOW TO WRITE A GOOD STORY

Every successful fundraising campaign that has been run raising money for any cause, does so off the back of a well told story.

A good fundraising story is the bedrock to any fundraising and can be told in a long, wordy written piece or a short catchy “elevator pitch”.

Your story will be written to help you achieve an outcome and will be the central driving point of your fundraising strategy. The best stories are ones that can be told across various mediums and used in different ways, weather told in full or in short-form all get the same consistent message across.

WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF A GOOD STORY

There are 5 features that we encourage our sports partners to try and achieve through their fundraising story:

  1. SHAREABILITY

A good fundraising story will engage the reader/listener and they will be compelled to share this story with others whom they feel will also have a connection to the cause.

  1. EMOTIVE

When people read or listen to your fundraising story, you want them to feel the emotion that you have for your cause. The goal here is to make the potential donor care about the project you are trying to get them to donate to and get them to link the story you are telling to their own experiences and how they personally are connected to your cause.

  1. IMAGERY

When a fundraising story is emotive and enables your audience to make a personal connection you also want to use words and examples which them create imagery in the mind of the reader/listener. Your goal is to have your audience picture the outcome in their minds and the opportunities/experiences their donation will give others. Those stories which can achieve this are far more likely to receive donations.

  1. CHANGE

In telling your story you need to promote to your audience that this project is going to create change and impact upon the lives of those involved. Additionally, that the donor themselves will be personally responsible for that change by making a donation.

  1. CARE

It is hard to create urgency within fundraising, however if your story can make the listener care then it is easier to compel them to donate with urgency. A good way to do this is to create a fork in the road: If you donate, this will happen, however if we don’t raise our targeted funds, this is what the future holds. This approach is really good for eliminating those who do not care enough to donate and bringing to the surface those who do care and want to make a difference.

 

SO HOW DO YOU WRITE A GOOD STORY?

 

There are 4 key elements that make up a good story. These 4 key inclusions will enable you to write a story which helps set in place your context, engage the correct audience and most importantly ask for money:

  1. NEED – This is the starting point for any fundraising story. This is where you communicate to your audience what you need to achieve through your fundraising program. Most commonly this is how much money you need to raise.
  2. CAUSE – You need to transparently let the donor know EXACTLY what you are raising money for. This isn’t as simple as saying: “raising money for our U14 team travel fund”. A better cause is to say “raising money for our U14 team to travel to the state titles and represent our club against the best in the state”.
  3. IMPACT – You need to share what the impact will be. This is where you can insert your urgency or “fork in the road” and also really work on the emotion of your story. An impact outlines EXACTLY who will benefit from the donation and how and what change will be seen by the donation. An example would be “raising money for our U14 team to travel to the state titles and represent our club against the best in the state. This is a life-changing opportunity never had by any team from our club before, only made possible through the kind support of people like you”.
  4. ASK – You have to ask, no fundraising program has ever been successful without asking. Moreover, your ask is far more effective if you can make a really specific ask and align your ask with an outcome such as: “A donation of just $10 provides a football to a child who has never owned one before”. Or “$25 pays for the tournament uniform for one U14s player”. However you intent to ask, it needs to be direct and specific and you need to let the donor know how they can make their donation.

Following these simple steps will enable you to break up your fundraising story to suit how you want to tell it. You may want to consider just telling the entire story, or spreading it over a few weeks by building interest then making an ask. This approach will depend on your audience and how often you can engage with them.

The most important feature of your fundraising story is your ASK. Not asking, or not asking properly is the number one reason fundraising programs or events don’t achieve their target funds. To find out more on how to ask more effectively, tune into our next blog.

 

Happy Fundraising

 

Mark Thompson Director of Fundraising

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