Australians understand the importance of coming together to support a cause. In fact, 90% of Australians believe it’s essential for people to come together in person to promote positive change and 1 in 4 of us have recently attended a non-profit event.
If fundraising events are your passion and your job, this is good news. The interest — and the dollars — are there. The challenge is to cut through all the noise. With so many crowdfunding opportunities and charity events popping up every day, why would someone choose to support your cause?
There’s a powerful way to capture the hearts, minds, and dollars of supporters. It’s a technique as old as the hills: storytelling.
Why storytelling matters for fundraising events
Stories give us knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. Specifically, they inspire us to take action, which is why storytelling is so critical to fundraising. Tell a moving story, and you motivate people to attend and give.
It’s the difference between:
“Please donate to help the victims of a local house fire.”
“Steve and Linda lost their childhood home today, including the stuffed animal collection Linda’s been saving for her kids since she was a little girl. Will you help fund a new collection and a new home for their family?”
A focus on storytelling captivates people, speaks to their humanity, and invites them to become the hero of the story.
Craft a compelling story for your cause
Storytelling is an art. A great storyteller knows how to create an arc that draws the listener in. People can’t help but stay tuned to hear how it ends — or, for causes like yours, to help create a happy ending for those involved.
Similarly, in event marketing, telling a story well means telling it from beginning to end — across every marketing channel and throughout your entire ticketing lifecycle.
Audiences today are savvy about the ways they consume information on different platforms. They turn to Facebook to find out what’s happening. They sign up for email newsletters from their favourite brands. They gobble up Instagram Stories for informal behind-the-scenes content. And they use Twitter for quick facts.
With this in mind, you might:
- Announce your benefit on Facebook Events
- Send official invitations to attend through email
- Give a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the cause behind your mission with Instagram Stories
- Release facts related to your cause, with links to read more info, on Twitter
As you’re crafting every event promotion, think of it as part of your overall story. Use consistent images and wording from platform to platform, letting each marketing effort build on the last. Your overall objective is to set up the fundraising event experience and, over time, inspire people to attend and give.
Pro tip: Stories are best told in both words and pictures. To be effective, both must be polished and professional. Consider hiring a copywriter, photographer, and videographer to provide the richest storytelling materials.
Encourage your supporters to tell their own stories
The new era of passionate, vocal donors makes spending decisions based on what speaks to them personally. When you’re marketing your charity event or asking for donations, talk about your cause through the lens of personal experience.
“When someone spreads your mission through their own experience — saying here’s why I’m passionate, here’s why I care — people are more likely to donate,” says Gary Wohlfeill, marketing director at Crowdrise by GoFundMe.
Here are a few ways to tap into audience empathy by getting personal:
- Ask your supporters and fundraisers to tell their personal stories when talking about your event. People are more likely to pledge support when the request comes from someone with a personal connection to the cause.
- Include a checkbox on your registration form where attendees can mark if they’ve been personally affected by your cause, so you can follow up and ask them for their own stories.
- Create short videos for social media that help you tell captivating stories.
Across your event marketing, always aim to create empathy for the people, places, or ideas you’re raising money for.
Get your story heard
People love stories, and they want to be a part of the stories they love. Get your story noticed, by harnessing the right technology to find supporters online and activate their support. Download The Essential Guide to Technology for Non Profit & Fundraising Events to learn more.