Fundraisers are constantly inundated with advice about how to maximize fundraising effectiveness. How do you listen to so much advice, when some of it tells you to take opposite approaches? Have you been able to pause long enough to consider all this advice and thoughtfully integrate what will work in your nonprofit’s storytelling initiatives?
In 2022, we’re told that successful storytelling requires:
- Research to ensure our stories resonate with donors.
- Customized messaging to donor segments.
- A deep focus on donor priorities and community needs.
- A genuine commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. That means effectively involving persons with lived experience in your strategies and tactics.
As an industry, we’ve been talking about donor-centric engagement formally since 1991. Some may have heard donor-centric and assumed it meant donor-superior. We know that is not true! The people we serve are important constituents. The donors supporting us are important constituents. We need both to be successful.
Fundraising expert Robbe Healey – MBA, NHA, ACFRE, FAFP, and founding member of Aurora Philanthropic Consulting – is here to help you cut through all of the noise of the past three decades. In her keynote session at the 2022 DonorPerfect Community Conference, she explains the history of donor- and community-centric voices in the nonprofit sector, and that effective storytelling is not as simple as donor-centric vs. community-centric. She purports that donor-superior thinking was never a best practice. “If you want to serve people with dignity,” she says, “you need to involve persons with lived experience in all aspects of your work, especially in the discussion of what is needed and how to best deliver services.”
In her discussion, Healey poses a thought-provoking question to development directors and fundraising team members: where do your donors’ stories begin? What is moving them to action right this minute? Are they a lifetime supporter of your cause, or are they rallying around a current event?
Depending on their mission, some organizations are at the forefront of change, and others are preservers of the status quo. The power of community movements (like Me Too and COVID-19 relief efforts) is ignited by the stories of members of underserved communities and those who experience social injustice – but not every nonprofit is engaged in movement-based work.
So how does your mission affect how you implement donor-centric vs. community-centric voices in your nonprofit storytelling? Healey says insightful leaders take to the streets to find out what needs aren’t being met and make the best possible decisions for their own community and mission.
As you listen to storytelling advice, you can analyze how it relates (or doesn’t relate) to your current mission and those you serve to better customize your storytelling for each valuable donor segment.
In our keynote session on June 7th, Healey will teach you how to analyze nonprofit advice, adapt to the needs of those you serve, and create stories that resonate with each of your donor segments – now and in the future.
Session participants will:
- Examine the messages and the dominant voices telling us how we need to approach donors and the way we tell our stories.
- Consider methods for adopting and adapting the advice to ensure our messaging and approaches will resonate with our values and be inspiring and compatible with our current culture.
We hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, register anyway – you’ll receive session recordings and recaps after the conference.
Like DonorPerfect on Facebook!