Year-End Fundraising = Marketing + Storytelling
Published for Women's Nonprofit Alliance
In the year-end season of consumerism, one tradition stands out among the rest: Generosity. According to Qgiv.com,
1/3 of annual giving occurs in December,
$48 billion is given in November and December, and
12% of annual giving occurs in the last 3 days of the year.
With such ample giving from big-name corporations down to your humble next-door neighbor, your nonprofit cannot afford to miss out on the season of giving. You observe daily the impact your nonprofit is making on your beneficiaries, the city, and the world. Have you told your donors?
Fundraising and donor engagement is a combination of marketing and storytelling. (Fundraising = Marketing + Storytelling). Let’s explore this concept in relation to your end-of-year giving campaign.
The traditional marketing mix consists of 5 P’s: “product, price, promotion, place, and people.” But for simplification, let’s agree that marketing is the who and how. As you create your end-of-year campaign, imagine that you are standing in a room with a crowd of people, some of whom have an interest in your nonprofit’s cause. Your task is to spark meaningful interactions that lead to giving. Which people will you talk to? What are their names? What do you know about them? Where are they located in the room? Where do they live, work, and play? Do they prefer email, social media, handwritten letters, or a face-to-face conversation?
Most importantly, do you value them as the real, generous, worthy people that they are? Remember that donors are more than just a name; they are our neighbors, family, friends, fellow parents, community members.
A marketing campaign mantra for your nonprofit: Identify the most effective channels of communicating with your selected audience, and lead with sincerity.
Now that you have identified how and who to spark interactions with, what will you say? Storytelling is the synthesis of measurable outcomes and true narratives. Through storytelling, you can choose to highlight your nonprofit’s general mission, a specific program, or other compelling facet. Outcomes may include number of participants; percent increase or decrease of variable impact (e.g. likelihood of diabetes, school test scores, or animal euthanasia rates); and estimated dollars saved or lives affected. Narratives are more emotional and may highlight a beneficiary/client of your services, a volunteer, or even a faithful donor. Like any good story, the narrative should include a main character, a conflict or issue they face, a guide (your nonprofit!), and solution that leads to success for the main character.
By inviting donors into real-life narratives happening within your nonprofit’s walls and reinforcing with positive outcomes, you can use the art of storytelling to turn meaningful interactions into giving.
Although this formula is just a snapshot of the complex realm of fundraising, your end-of-year campaign begins here. Feel free to share your favorite marketing and storytelling ideas with us – and happy giving!