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The Power of Story to Connect with and Retain Donors
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The Power of Story to Connect with and Retain Donors


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How do you talk about the work that you do? Do you list facts and statistics in your newsletter? While data is important, it’s even more important to turn the numbers into stories that connect. …

How do you talk about the work that you do? Do you list facts and statistics in your newsletter? While data is important, it’s even more important to turn the numbers into stories that connect. Vanessa Chase, nonprofit expert, will dive into the need to articulate impact beyond the numbers to stay connected with your supporters and retain more donors.

• How to craft stories that retain and motivate donors
• Ways to insert story into your stewardship plan
• Where to capture the best stories at your organization

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  • 1. #npEXPERTS | Using the Power of Story to Connect With and Engage Donors
  • 2. #npEXPERTS | Meet the #npEXPERTS
  • 3. #npEXPERTS | Our #npEXPERTS Presenter Vanessa Chase Fundraising and communications strategist with a love of great stories. Founded to help nonprofits connect in more meaningful ways with donors through stories and stewardship. @vanessaechase
  • 4. #npEXPERTS | |
  • 5. #npEXPERTS | We all Share Common Ground Need: Want to raise more money and keep our donors … Solution: Remember what philanthropy is really all about. #npEXPERTS |
  • 6. #npEXPERTS | | So What’s Preventing Us? When you communicate with your donors, do you really make the communication about them? There are two cardinal mistakes in donor communications: 1.  Making it all about the organization’s “urgent” needs 2.  Not knowing our audience well enough to speak to them in a way that resonates #npEXPERTS |
  • 7. #npEXPERTS | | When You Don’t Know Your Audience •  Your communications are less effective •  Your audience doesn’t understand •  Folks become apathetic •  … and lose the connection #npEXPERTS |
  • 8. #npEXPERTS | The Donor Knowledge Gap
  • 9. #npEXPERTS | | Stories as the Solution Stories help bridge the Donor Knowledge Gap in two ways. 1.  Provide context for understanding new information 2.  Emotionally connect donors to the cause #npEXPERTS |
  • 10. #npEXPERTS | | The process of combining facts and narrative in order to communicate a message and an emotion to a target audience. WHAT IS STORYTELLING?
  • 11. #npEXPERTS | | 5 Keys to Crafting a Story that Resonates 1. Goal 2. Message 3. Connection 4. Character 5. Conflict
  • 12. #npEXPERTS | | Key #1 – Define Your Goal What is your goal for telling a story? #npEXPERTS |
  • 13. #npEXPERTS | | Key #2 – Find Your Core Message What’s the one thing that you want readers to feel and think as a result of this story? #npEXPERTS |
  • 14. #npEXPERTS | | Key #3 – Create Connection What’s your “in” to creating a connection with your audience? #npEXPERTS |
  • 15. #npEXPERTS | | Key #4 – Develop your Characters •  Clients •  Staff •  Board •  Volunteers •  Donors •  Community #npEXPERTS |
  • 16. #npEXPERTS | | Key #5 – Find the Conflict Creating connection between two seemingly dissimilar experiences.
  • 17. #npEXPERTS | | But … How do we find stories to tell?
  • 18. #npEXPERTS | | The 4 Pillars of a Culture of Storytelling 1.  Educate staff 2.  Know what you need 3.  Create tools 4.  Tell each other stories
  • 19. #npEXPERTS | | 1. Educate Staff Storytelling is a team effort! Make it a participatory, inclusive activity for everyone at your organization Dedicate an all-staff meeting to discussing storytelling #npEXPERTS |
  • 20. #npEXPERTS | | 2. Know What You Need Don’t make the mistake of just telling your colleagues, “I need a story! Can you give me a story?” Make specific requests that give colleagues a clear sense of direction. #npEXPERTS |
  • 21. #npEXPERTS | | 3. Create Tools Create easy ways to colleagues to regularly submit their stories via a story collection form, #npEXPERTS |
  • 22. #npEXPERTS | | 4. Tell Each Other Stories Tell each other stories more often and storytelling will become an inherent part of your organization’s culture #npEXPERTS |
  • 23. #npEXPERTS | | Now it’s time … to start implementing stories in stewardship
  • 24. #npEXPERTS | | First, evaluate your stewardship •  Map out the touch points that you have with donors •  Review the content of your stewardship pieces •  Are you using words like “impact”? Are you showing donors what that means? •  How directly does the content of your stewardship connect donors to the beneficiaries of their philanthropy?
  • 25. #npEXPERTS | Then, think about the best way to communicate with your donors. Pick the mediums that work for your donors. Email? Direct Mail? Phone? In Person? Social?
  • 26. #npEXPERTS | Finally, go put it into practice! #npEXPERTS |
  • 27. #npEXPERTS | | Example: Stories in Stewardship
  • 28. #npEXPERTS | | Example: Stories in Stewardship
  • 29. #npEXPERTS | | Example: Stories in Stewardship
  • 30. #npEXPERTS | | The most important story you can tell and be connected to is the story of why you do the work that you do.
  • 31. #npEXPERTS | |