A case for support might be one of the most in-depth, and earliest, touches a prospect has with your charity. Are you taking the opportunity to tell them the right stories?
I’m sure you’ve included the story of Patches, the cat whose life was saved because of kind gifts. Or you’ve talked about Betty, who received the life-saving care she needed right in her own community. You’ve told the ‘story of one’, the story that will pull the prospect in and show them the impact, put a human face on the cause, and prove the effectiveness of the organization.
But maybe it takes more than one story to do that properly. And more than that – it takes more than one storyteller.
3 Forgotten Storytellers FOR A Case FOR SUPPORT THAT SoarS
Storyteller #1: The PRoblem-solver
And no, I don’t mean your charity (although you’re a vital piece of the puzzle!). You’ve illustrated the problem for your prospect with Patches and Betty. Now, hold up a mirror and show your prospects the solution: themselves! Or more specifically, someone who is like them in many ways – who shares their demographics, their values, and their beliefs – but with one key difference: they’ve already made a gift.
This storyteller acts as a testimonial to your charity’s work. The goal here is to show the prospect themselves on the other side of the relationship. Migrate them from problem-acknowledger to problem-solver. Talk about how incredible it feels to solve this problem! Show them that they can feel that incredible, that empowered, that important, too.
Storyteller #2: The Believer
This is a different voice than your ED or a Board Member. While those folks are deeply involved in the work and they’re vital for articulating your mission and vision, this story is on a different level. Think every-day, practical, routine work. This storyteller should be in the trenches. It could be the volunteer who’s been cleaning the cat cages and cuddling the kittens for the past 20 years. It could be a doctor or nurse in the field vaccinating little kids.
These stories achieve 2 things. First, they expand on the problem by exploring some of the ways in which that problem is being solved, right now. This makes it feel genuinely fixable. And second, they establish your charity as being accountable, transparent, and responsible with the dollars your donors provide. This is a person who saw your work and was so impressed, they had to get more involved. They truly believe that you’re the best at what you do – and that you’re the most deserving of their time and resources (and of your prospects’ dollars!)
Storyteller #3: The Pragmatist
Okay, maybe this isn’t a ‘story’ in the traditional sense of ‘a thing that has happened’, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. Illustrate what will happen if they choose NOT to give. Create a sense of urgency and highlight the salience of the work – and the ability of the prospect to keep that ‘what if’ from happening! Show them how powerful their gift will be.
Some folks will shy away from the kind of storytelling. To some people, it feels like fear-mongering or manipulation. But I’d argue it’s just plain honesty. Your work is important. Without you and your donors, life would be different and worse in some way. It isn’t wrong to say that out loud – and to invite donors to act to keep that worse reality from happening.
It goes without saying that it’s not enough to just include these stories in your case for support. They need to be told in the right way, to create emotional connections with the work. And, they need to be supplemented with the right factual elements, statistics, and financial information. But if you include more storytellers than the norm, you’ll also be creating a more well-rounded, compelling picture of the cause, positioning yourself as the greatest choice for change, and best of all, making it feel effortless to give.