Interview with Chris Miano, Founder and CEO of MemoryFox
Storytelling is one key to successful fundraising and plays an especially important role in capital campaign fundraising.
Great stories have the unique ability to connect donors on an emotional level, helping them understand the impact of their contributions and inspiring them to support important causes.
Why Storytelling is So Important in All Forms of Fundraising
I asked Chris Miano, Founder and CEO of MemoryFox, why storytelling is so important for fundraising and nonprofit leaders.
You’ve created an entire business around nonprofit storytelling. Why do you feel it’s so important?
Storytelling taps into the power of emotion, allowing nonprofits to create narratives that resonate with potential donors. By sharing authentic stories from individuals or communities impacted by the nonprofit’s work, organizations can generate empathy and compassion, which compels donors to act:
- personal anecdotes
- heartfelt testimonials
- and specific case studies
[All of these things] bring a campaign to life, making it relatable and inspiring to donors.
Great Questions are the Key to Storytelling to Capture Donor Attention
How can nonprofits create a compelling narrative to capture the attention of busy donors for their campaign?
A compelling narrative is essential for capturing attention and maintaining engagement. Organizations should craft a story that highlights the purpose and urgency of their capital campaign.
By communicating a clear vision and emphasizing the need for financial support, nonprofits can empower potential donors to become part of the narrative. To create a compelling narrative, organizations must ask great questions.
Can you share a few examples of great questions to ask?
Absolutely. Everyone is not a natural-born storyteller. So, it’s essential to move beyond a simple open-ended question, and instead ask targeted questions that elicits emotion. Here are some examples:
- Instead of: “Tell us your story”, Try: “How did (your organization) help you overcome the challenges you were facing?
- Instead of: “Tell us about the volunteer work you do”, Try: “Tell us about the first time you volunteered with (your organization). How did it make you feel?”
- Instead of: “How has (your organization) impacted you?” Try: “What kind of
relationships have you built through (your organization)?”
Yes, that makes good sense. I like the way you compare various questions to show how a story-collector would reframe questions to elicit better responses.
How Nonprofits Can Use Storytelling in Capital Campaign Communications
How might an organization use storytelling to enhance their capital campaign communications?
Storytelling techniques can be employed to illustrate the journey from inception to completion, showcasing the impact of each step along the way.
Donors appreciate knowing how their contributions will make a difference, and transparency enhances their confidence in the organization, increasing the likelihood of their support.
Using Multiple Channels to Communicate Stories
I want to emphasize the idea of showing progress along the way. Different stories can be used throughout the various stages of a campaign. Can you share a bit about how organizations can share stories using multiple channels?
Nonprofits should leverage several communication channels to distribute captivating stories that capture the attention of diverse audiences. Storytelling, particularly video storytelling, can be effectively conveyed through various channels, such as:
- social media
- and websites
In fact, social media platforms prioritize video over all other types of content — meaning that your nonprofit video will reach more of your current supporters and new prospects simply by being in video form.
Free Templates for Video Storytelling
If creating video content feels like a big hurdle to jump for your organization, we encourage you to start by using templates. You can access our free 12 Months of Gratitude Canva Templates to get started making great content.
Nonprofits do love free resources. Thanks for sharing that!
Creating Personal Connection with Donors through Storytelling
How can you create a sense of personal connection through stories?
Individuals are more likely to donate when they feel personally connected to a cause, and let’s face it — it’s very hard to feel connected to an impact number. Sharing personal, authentic stories humanize the campaign, making it relatable and inspiring others to contribute.
Remember, donors are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and pride in supporting a cause that aligns with their personal values and experiences.
Use of Storytelling throughout a Capital Campaign
Can you say a bit more on how organizations might use stories throughout the campaign?
Donors want to see tangible results and understand the impact of their contributions. Nonprofits should utilize storytelling to share success stories, milestones, and progress updates related to the capital campaign. This provides a sense of achievement and reinforces the belief that their donations are making a significant difference.
Sharing these stories of success encourages ongoing support and motivates donors to remain engaged with the organization’s future endeavors.
Thanks for sharing an important topic with our readers.
Final Thoughts on Capital Campaign Storytelling
Captivating stories can cut through the noise and resonate with individuals who are looking to make a positive impact. Embracing storytelling as a central strategy will not only elevate fundraising efforts, but also deepen the connection between nonprofits and their supporters, creating a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
A quick note to our readers: While we do link to MemoryFox and one of their storytelling resources in this post, we’re not advocating for you to use them, nor making a single penny from this post. We’re simply happy to share resources that are available for your campaign.
Check out MemoryFox, a technology platform that helps nonprofits collect, organize, and share stories directly from their communities.