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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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How to tell a story that will make donors want to write a check
jacqueline beretta

December, 2015

I bet you already know this...but donors don't write random checks anymore. It's not at all rare for donors to conduct months of in-depth due diligence before they become significant investors. 

If they like what they see, donors could give more than money. They might want to become partners, advocates, sometimes even active board members. OMG! They might want to help you with development! In some cases, they might care enough to want to be your. Watch the engaging voice Harrison Ford gave to the ocean for Conservation International... Harrison Ford as the Ocean. This presentation means goose bumps and tension and conflict of humanity versus nature. 

I listen carefully (multiple times) to what the ocean has to tell me, and I care! I'm scared! I want to survive. Yes, ocean, you are most of this planet. You are all-powerful. I need you, ocean. I want to help you. So, where do I sign? I'm all in. I do not want to be a greedy human being. I want to share the earth with you in peace and harmony...sigh.

Do you see the power of this message? Do you feel the waves swallowing your soul into the depths of the great unknown? A great story is a great emotional hook to your mission.

Whatever it is, you can create drama around it. You can make me feel uncomfortable with all the what-if's you can conjure up. 

How? Ask yourself some know you can do it...just relax, breathe deeply and get creative. Get in touch with why you are here, with this organization. 

For the purpose of my story, your organization should equate to your hero. Philanthropy is basically like a hero's and your donors work together to save your hero (mission).

-Who is this main character, this hero you care so deeply about? Is it a person, an animal, a building, or an ocean? Identify your hero. Tell us about them - the good and the bad. Why were they important to our past and why do we need to support their existence into our future? This part should be a no-brainer, relatively easy, because it's your passion, right? 

-How did your hero/mission get into trouble and why they need help? What will happen to the general dynamics of the entire world if sharks become extinct? 

-Throw rocks at them...tell us about the struggle your hero must endure every day. Tell about their trials and tribulations...draw mental and even actual pictures of them in need. Why do humans poison the ocean?

-Then tell how you would propose getting them to safety...safely. What can you and your organization do to save your hero? What is the arc you must follow? 

-Be exciting! You cause is your character - you don't want them to be boring. You want people to care - to root for your hero.

Please don't forget to tell us about tension and conflict. Throw in a couple of cliff-hangers, reversals, revelations and climaxes. They need to know that the entire dynamics of your community - as you know it - can turn on a dime. 

Make people want to know what happens next! Then...ta dah! You and your organization step in to save the day. Heroes!! How could your community survive without you? Your donor sees this need and wants to be part of saving the people/animals/buildings/oceans that almost fell through the cracks. You walked them out of harms way and up to higher ground. Yay!

Now, you may feel a little nervous, because you are basically writing a screenplay. But, take your time, and you can do it. Go out there and wow your audience. Your story should be compelling enough to have funders standing in line to support your cause. Ka-ching!




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