The one thing you can’t afford to leave out of your stories

by guest blogger Jennifer Miller, Creative Director at TrueSense Marketing

You’ve just told a compelling story. You’ve engaged your donors. Drama. Details. Action. Conflict. Solution. It’s all there!

Now what?

If you’re not using the C word in your stories — the call to action — you’re missing a huge opportunity for deeper engagement (not to mention donations). Your call to action is what you’re asking donors to do:

Take a survey. Share a comment. Volunteer. Spread the word. Give a donation. Make more of these stories possible.

These are all actionable things, and they don’t always have to be about asking for money.

Think about it: Stories are a great place to ask donors to take action. You’ve just awakened their sense of compassion with an emotionally driven story. You’ve used heart-gripping details. Your audience has wept with sorrow and cheered with joy. Why stop there? The time to ask them to do something is while their hearts and minds are fully engaged!

Here’s the best part: Your donors are expecting you to ask. They want you to ask. They need you to ask!

Your donors don’t expect you to end a story with, “Well, hope you liked this story!” They do expect to be asked to do something.

Now here’s where psychologists can rejoice, because when you satisfy those expectations, you produce rewards. And when donors are rewarded with “I’m a hero” feelings for their good deeds and choices, they are more likely to produce that behavior again and again.

And those are the donors you really want reading your stories.

(This post first appeared on The Storytelling Non-Profit.)


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.