Step 2: Locker Talk – Story telling that turns heads

1 March 2017

You will not believe what happened on the weekend…

Stories are the backbone of every fundraising campaign and are especially important in tax deductible fundraising which essentially is the product you are selling to your donors. This month we are unpacking the best attributes needed for putting together or refining your fundraising story.

The best stories share some common characteristics:

  • They’re authentic
  • They’re easy to understand – they have a beginning, middle and end (the future)
  • They revolve around emotion and are supported with facts
  • They make readers feel like they can make a difference

In the most simplistic form, fundraising stories have 4 core elements:

Need (What)

What exactly are you raising funds for?

It is important to share in as much detail as you can what you are fundraising for and how much you are looking to raise and what the funds will be used for.

Cause (Why)

Why are you fundraising for your club or project?

Your cause should outline why you are fundraising, whether it be to aid in the fight against child obesity through increased participation in your sport or to purchase new lights at your home oval so the team can train into the night, your audience will need to understand your cause to want to contribute.

Impact (How)

How will additional funds make a difference?

Your donors will want to know how their gifts will make an impact. One handy trick is to share with them the perceived positive and negative impacts their actions (to donate or not) may affect the project, using a ‘fork in the road’ approach share how their donation will make a difference, for example:  what changes and who will benefit? How does this make life better for people? And also paint a picture of what the outcome would be without their gift.

Ask (What/When)

What exactly are you asking your donors to do?

If you don’t ask you will not receive. By this stage in your story the potential donor will have absorbed all the information about your fundraising project and now in a position to make a decision whether to donate and if so, how much to contribute. Price points can help your donors of varying affluence give what they can afford and at the same time align it with a tangible outcome. E.g. $20 will provide one new football, $100 will provide a new jersey for one player etc.

You may also be asking for people to share your story or run an event for you so think outside the box of always asking purely for cash donations.

Another handy tip is to follow the 4 T’s:

Timely: Your appeal needs to have a sense of urgency to move donors to act now. Let them know what will happen if they give immediately, why they should donate today or what might be lost if they don’t.

Touching: Effective fundraising taps into the emotional and personal reasons for giving. You want to build a connection and your fundraising story must inspire your reader to feel something if you want them to take action (shareability). Be sure to make it personal, people focused and use compelling photos and stories to help make your message come to life.

Trustworthy: Once you’ve inspired donors with emotion, they need reassurance to follow through with their donation. Build trust and credibility by adding testimonials and sharing outcomes along the way to add to your authenticity.

Tangible: What will happen if someone gives? Show concrete results and the specific impact of a gift. Donors want to know that they can make a difference. Make it easy for them to see how their donation matters.

Remember to keep your story exciting, keep the reader curious and create an us against them/ team mentality with your donors. Bring them into your world and together overcome the financial barriers your club faces.

I will finish with one of the best quotes I have come across in the world of fundraising:

“Fortune favours the bold, especially in non-profit fundraising” - Anonymous

Don’t be afraid to go large with your story and aim for a big impact in the donor. Boldness will pay off with extra attention your organisation will receive, and in many cases great PR as well.

Chris Bond OAM –  Sports Partnership Manager

Sports community partners

  • Clearinghouse for Sport
  • SportsTG
  • Good 2 give
  • AIS
  • Australian Sports Commission
  • Play by the Rules
  • Spartan Sports

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