We already know the importance of storytelling in philanthropy. It is an almost infallible way to get the attention of your target audiences and keep it. Practically speaking, what kind of stories can you tell? We give you tools and concrete examples of 5 types of stories that will help you achieve your organization's objectives.
TESTIMONIALS AND ANECDOTES FROM BENEFICIARIES
Fundraising tools very often use testimonials and anecdotes about beneficiaries. They are used to illustrate the impacts of donations and the work of your organization.
You will tell real people's stories so that your target audience can see the benefits of your services. The narration will be either in the first person or using quotes to give individuals a voice.
Testimonials are an opportunity to touch the heartstrings of potential donors. As for anecdotes, they present a surprising fact that serves to make your target audience more receptive to your cause.
THE EPIC OF A KEY CHARACTER
Your volunteers, donors, fundraisers and other people involved with your organization are very important to accomplish your mission. Give them a key role in a story that showcases them.
Choose someone your target can identify with, and make him or her likeable. Then stage the character to show how he or she supports your cause and contributes in helping beneficiaries.
YOUR ORGANIZATION'S STORY
Share your organization's founding story, including turning points, emotions, even suspense. Be transparent and reveal the difficulties you have overcome over time. Your organization will be perceived as more human, more real.
Rather than treating the founders of the organization as heroes, focus on the donors or beneficiaries. You can also present portraits of people involved in the organization: employees, members of management, regular donors, volunteers, Board members, etc.
Allegorical stories are fictional stories that present an idea in metaphorical form. They can be used to illustrate your values and mission. Myths and legends often fall into this category.
The characters and their actions in the story carry a message, they bear meaning beyond their first interpretation.
For example, think of the long spoons allegory in which people are forced to eat with very long spoons but can’t themselves reach their mouths. But if they feed each other, everyone eats their fill. We therefore understand the importance of mutual aid, empathy, solidarity. Your target audience then understands how these values are dear to your organization.
Project yourself into the future. Imagine a world where your organization would no longer have a reason to exist because it would have accomplished its mission. All your interventions have been successful, the problem is solved. This is the ultimate success.
People love success stories. Showcase your ideal future in relation to your vision, in a fictional story. You can also simply tell stories of smaller real-life successes in your organization.
Of course, the different types of narratives can be mixed and used as the ingredients of a single good story. For example, you can combine them in a multi-platform campaign to maximize its impact.
Don't forget that the best stories are emotional, real, human and appeal to all 5 senses. Tell stories that are touching and unexpected, stories that make people laugh, that strike the imagination and make them dream. You will go straight to the heart of your target.