Guest post by Jeremy S.
Over the last couple of weeks, the theme of this blog has been telling your stories. We’ve looked at both written and visual stories. This guest post by Jeremy S. of Goodwill Car Donations shows us how to tell verbal stories – either in person or on video. These tips can also be useful when writing a story.
Whatever method you use, keep telling your stories!
What’s your organization’s story? A great story can captivate and motivate your organization’s supporters as it attracts new donors, shows long-time donors that you appreciate them, and creates lasting relationships. Learn the art of storytelling as you make your fundraising pitch memorable and engaging.
Tell a Story About a Real Person
Your donors want to hear about the clients you serve, dogs you rescue, or students you tutor. Instead of telling generic stories, share a story, or case study, about a real person and how your organization helped change his or her life.
Let Real People Tell Their Story
When possible, let your clients or customers share their stories. It creates a personal touch that connects with donors.
Share Something Relatable
Every story you tell should include at least one moment where your donors can relate to something you share.
Keep It Short
The average attention span is only eight seconds. Keep your story as short as possible while still getting your point across.
It’s OK to be transparent when sharing your story. Whether you’re happy, angry, sad, proud, or excited, let your true self shine through.
Keep It Current
As your organization changes, your story will change. You’ll stay relevant and relatable when you make sure your story is current.
Structure the Pitch
All good stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Yours should have structure, too.
- Start with a strong opener that captures your audience’s attention from the beginning. A joke, statistic, or anecdote does the trick.
- Proceed to the meat of the story that answers questions like who your organization serves, what you do, and how you do it.
- End with a call to action. Ask your listeners to invest in your organization as they support your cause with their money, time, and resources.
Focus On Your Brand
All the details of your story should relate to your brand. Make sure your listeners have a clear understanding of your brand’s message.
Whether sharing your story live or recording it, practice, practice, practice. You want to know the material and be confident while sharing it.
Pay Attention to Your Appearance
You might share the most heartwarming story ever, but no one will listen if your appearance is sloppy, dirty, or otherwise distracting. Check your physical appearance in the mirror before going on stage or on camera, and be sure to look presentable.
Talk About the Money
You don’t have to beg, but you do need to talk about the money. Share why you need it, how much you hope to raise, what you’ll do with it, and any project deadlines — including negative effects of not reaching your goals.
A great story allows your organization to connect with your supporters. Use these tips as you personalize, maximize, and monetize the stories you tell.
Jeremy S. is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Goodwill Car Donations. Jeremy has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles in the past five years he’s worked for Goodwill Car Donations.
Photo by Tim Hettler