by Shannon Mastey
Organizing and running a fundraiser can seem like a monumental effort: meeting with school administration, finding motivated students and parents (and motivating those who need it), delivering products to donors – the list goes on. If there’s so much to do, then why bother doing even more work to tell people the story of your fundraiser? Do they even care?
In short, yes. People care very much.
Supporters don’t care about fundraisers if they don’t have a context. It provides the why and the how of a fundraiser and gives them cause to help you. This context doesn’t have to be the universal implications of your campaign; it can be as small as the way one person is affected. Think about yourself in the position of a donor – wouldn’t you be more likely to donate to or support a fundraiser if you knew how you were helping, rather than just blindly supporting it? By telling donors the story behind your fundraiser, you connect with them on a human level. You give them both the necessary context and a genuine reason to support you.
However, the most important time to tell a story isn’t always before the fundraiser. It’s often during the fundraiser, or even after.
During the fundraiser, storytelling can simply mean giving periodic updates – through mail, email, or social media. Updates during the fundraiser aren’t supposed to be long and unwieldy. They only need to share what’s been going on recently (maybe within the last week or two) with your fundraiser, and your organization by extension. Some easy subjects for a fundraiser update include:
- How much money have you raised.
- Fundraising progress – is it going according to schedule?
- Are you making any preparations for the end of the fundraiser?
- Immediate, positive impacts of the fundraiser.
- Giving credit to people who have donated.
These short updates create continuity throughout your fundraiser for donors, and they can see where their donation has helped.
Finally, your fundraiser has ended. You made the money, used it, and are enjoying your success. The storytelling isn’t over just yet. Share the results of your fundraiser with those who helped you! Show them pictures of your happy club on the trip, or using a new facility – whatever the fundraiser was for. Sharing the conclusion of your story provides closure and reinforces to donors that their money was well spent. It’s important to keep the story going during and at the end of your fundraiser to keep donors and potential donors happy.Usually the pool of donors remains largely the same every time. Because of that, you have to create a positive future environment in which your fundraisers can be successful.
Adding a whole new task for the duration of your fundraiser can seem daunting, if not exhausting. Storytelling doesn’t have to be a massive responsibility, though. If you break it up into small chunks over the course of your fundraiser, you add a tiny bit of work in comparison to the relationships and donations gained by telling your story.