Tell Your Story Well (Part Two)

Nonprofit, Fundraising

So what? Who cares?

In this second blog of the series “Tell Your Story Well,” we will continue to discuss the complications we face when there is a disconnect between why people give and the story we tell.

Recently, I’ve gotten to work with incredible outreaches in Africa, India, China, with indigenous First Nations peoples in Canada, and in the inner cities in the U.S. They are all doing amazing work that is worthy of the support of their donors.

When I sit down with leaders of these outreaches, the first two questions I ask are:

So what?
Who cares?

To get to the answers to these crucial questions, I further my interview with these inquiries:

1. Tell me your story and why it matters.
2. Let me see some of your donor communication.
3. Whose lives are saved and changed?
4. What is your impact on the world?
5. Who would notice if you closed your doors next week?
6. What serious problems do you address?
7. How does a giver’s support help solve these problems?
8. Why should I give today?

Sometimes, the answers can have a disproportionate focus on the organization. That is where the disconnect comes in.

How to recognize an organizational focus:

The story revolves around the organization. There is an emphasis on the strategy, plans and activities of the organization, i.e., “What We Do.” “Who We Are.”

Here are some examples:
– We mentor young men in the inner city.
– We teach women in India to sew.
– We train and equip rural pastors.
– We feed 500 people a month.

As noble as these activities are, they don’t answer “So What?” and “Who Cares?”

I can also hear a lot about How Much We Need.

Examples of “How Much We Need” include:
– Our challenge is to finish with the necessary resources….”I invite you to consider a gift to make up the $400,000 gap we currently face.”
– We have a significant need. Gift income of $250,000 is needed before December 31.
– Our need is currently $190,000.

This also doesn’t answer “So What?” and “Who Cares?”

I KNOW there is a compelling story tucked into “Who We Are,” “What We Do,” and “How Much We Need.”

I KNOW the outreaches are making an impact. Lives are being changed and saved.

Most of all, I KNOW it is hard to find and tell the story and help financial supporters care so they will act.

In the third and final blog of this series, we will explore three ways you can answer these crucial questions, tell your story well, and help your givers care.

Tell Your Story Well (Part One)

By Denise Kuhn, CFRE