Everyone in the sector’s talking about storytelling (again).
Of course storytelling is nothing new, only the logistics change; from cavemen drawing on walls to Kindles. The New York Times recently reported on research that we are pre-programmed to respond to stories – that the brain tells itself stories to make sense of daily events.
So why’s storytelling so important to us in fundraising? Well, everyone knows that emotion drives charity giving, but what drives emotion?
They have the power to enthral and inspire us (it’s why novels always outsell textbooks; why an episode of EastEnders dealing with, say, alcoholism, child sexual exploitation or HIV massively overshadows the ratings of a documentary tackling the same issues).
Corporate’s have always been great at using story telling techniques to get their message over, but how well do we do it in the third sector? Not great according to a recent PhD analysis which concluded that the majority of fundraising messaging was overly formal, cold, detached, and abstract.
But we’re getting better. We can all think of great stories being told in direct mail or online appeals, but what happens when we switch to the oldest (and most powerful) method of all; one human being talking to another?
Let’s be honest; how much thought do we really put into the massive difference between what’s read or said? If our (honest) answer is ‘not much’ then we’re missing an enormous opportunity…
Research by the Neuroscience Institute of Princeton University shows that stories cause the brains of the speaker and listener to synchronize! No wonder Third Sector’s latest ‘Giving Trends’ research says that the telephone is the most effective way to solicit donations.
So, over a short series of blogs we’ll share methods we’ve learned, from over 3 million fundraising conversations a year, on how you can tell your stories most effectively to inspire new donors and increase engagement with existing ones. In a short series of blogs we’ll look at some of the key elements that so powerfully transform fundraising presentations into inspirational conversations…
- People not Numbers
- Hope not Despair
- Together not Separate
- Leaders not Followers
Look out for our next post on Wednesday, and please share your thoughts with us on what makes a good story.