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We’ve been having fun with our “how to” series. There’s always something new to learn about inspiring kids or teens to get involved in your cause, if you’re doing a shoe drive fundraiser––understanding how to use OurShoeDrive.com effectively, or creating a press release that will be picked up by the media.

Today, we’re talking about how to tell your nonprofit, school, church or civic group’s story efficiently so you can get more supporters to learn about your cause and also increase the fundraising dollars that you receive from them.

Why It’s Important to Tell Your Story

Telling your story well is the essential activity you can do from a fundraising perspective. By telling a good story, you will inspire people to give.

  • People need first to make an emotional connection before they connect with your cause rationally.
  • Marketing and advertising are all about telling stories because that’s one of the most fundamental ways people communicate with each other.
  • Emotion drives 80 percent of all purchasing decisions, which is then followed by logic in support of the decision. The same holds true for fundraising.

Telling Your Story in a Single Paragraph

Did you ever hear about the elevator pitch? It means being able to convey your story or idea in the amount of time it takes to ride up in an elevator when you’re sharing it with an influencer. Being able to tell your story in a single paragraph is similar. In today’s world, people are inundated with information. They spend countless hours a day consuming information through the internet, social media or on the 24-hour news cycle. There’s information overload.

One of the best exercises to learn how to tell your story well is to start by communicating it in one paragraph. The “less is more” approach will help you make your communications and writing concise and succinct. You can then make sure everything from your emails to your web pages have a similar structure that gets to the point quickly. Here’s how to tell your story in a single paragraph:

  1. Main idea: The first sentence is the bedrock of your message. With the first sentence, you immediately want to engage the reader’s attention. Every day, we work with hundreds of rescued dogs that have nowhere to go were it not for ABC Rescue.
  2. Context: The second sentence is crafted to assist the reader in understanding the circumstances that support your main idea. Good Samaritans or veterans from our partner organization who have made it their mission to rescue dogs save animals from dangerous and neglectful situations.
  3. Challenge: You then move to the conflict or problem that you want the reader to understand, which also helps you support the “ask” in your paragraph. ABC Rescue is a purely volunteer-driven organization, which means we have limited resources to do the work we do. 
  4. Case statement or need: The challenge is then follow-up with the statement or need of your organization; why you need people to help and support your cause. When the dogs arrive at our volunteer homes, most have suffered and are in need of immediate medical care, and although our vets work at negotiated rates, some of our dogs require extensive medical care. Additional expenses include food, toys, and grooming. 
  5. The ask: Finally, the ask is the closing statement and the pitch to your reader about what you want them to do in taking action to help you personally. You can help us by collecting one bag of 25 pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes in our shoe drive fundraiser and Funds2Orgs will issue us a check based on the overall weight of all the shoes collected.

An example of the story in one paragraph follows below:

A Story in One Paragraph

Every day, we work with hundreds of rescued dogs that have nowhere to go where it not for ABC Rescue. Good Samaritans or veterans from our partner organization who have made it their mission to rescue dogs save animals from dangerous and neglectful situations. ABC Rescue is a purely volunteer-driven organization, which means we have limited resources to do the work we do. When the dogs arrive at our volunteer homes, most have suffered and are in need of immediate medical care, and although our vets work at negotiated rates, some of our dogs require extensive medical care. Additional expenses include food, toys, and grooming. You can help us by collecting one bag of 25 pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes in our shoe drive fundraiser and Funds2Orgs will issue us a check based on the overall weight of all the shoes collected.

If you’d like to learn more fun stuff to help you raise money and market your organization, follow us on our YouTube channel, or like our Facebook page.

 

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