A guest post by Lisa C. Dunn of TechnologyAdvice
Everyone has a story to tell. And good digital storytelling connects with your donors in a powerful and impactful way.
55 percent of nonprofits surveyed for a recent Network for Good whitepaper reported that storytelling had improved their fundraising results.
From the donors’ side, another study by Georgetown University showed that more half of people who engage with causes via social media have felt inspired to take further action: mainly, to donate money.
That makes a compelling case for strong storytelling. Because the human brain connects to storytelling about relatable, emotional experiences, your nonprofit organization (NPO) must harness the power of storytelling–and inspire donors to give.
4 Storytelling Strategies for Social Media
Here are four social post strategies to capture the essence of a compelling, moving story that will pull on your donors’ heartstrings.
Go for a micro-audience.
Instead of appealing every donor with every message, aim to connect with a particular set of marketing personas within your donor base. The key is to understand what stories you should be telling to a specific type of person or segment of people.
For example, look at all the types of donors that have only given one gift to your organization. The story you’ll tell them should differ from the story you tell donors who have given gifts consecutively for many years.
Your aim shouldn’t be to find the perfect story to tell everyone. It should be to find the right story to tell to the right people.
This is where a robust customer relationship management (CRM) solution for non-profits comes into play. Accurately identifying these audiences and keeping track of your contacts with them is crucial. So, too, is the ability to look at your micro-audiences in aggregate to ensure you’re delivering messages consistently.
Only pick one or two ‘storylines’ to promote in showcase-style tales.
Rather than attempting to feature countless smaller-scale success stories in one post, focus each social post on one specific person or story.
Diving deeply into one story can generate more significant results. This strategy also allows you to provide more details of a person’s backstory, and to show precisely how your organization has made a real difference in his or her life.
Also, be sure to tell stories about real people with real challenges—no Jane Does here. Social followers will feel more empathetic to your cause if they can put a real name and a real face on an issue. Try to highlight community members who benefit most from your organization and your donors will be much more likely to feel a strong connection.
Do more than ask.
Instead of constantly asking for donations in every social post, strategically introduce, engage and incorporate different Calls-to-Action over the course of several posts. Repeat this pattern throughout the year.
One helpful way to think about this approach is with the 80/20 rule: No more than 20 percent of your social posts should make a direct appeal for donations. Then, strive to make the remaining 80 percent of your posts emotionally driven content that informs followers about your cause or specialty area.
Transform posts into connected, visual content.
Whether it’s via Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter or any other platform, social media storytelling is much more effective with images. According to a Skyward study, the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Also, content with relevant images tends to get 94 percent more views than content without visuals.
Images and videos are key to successful social media storytelling today. When they can see an individual or family that your organization is helping, donors draw parallels to their own lives, which can ultimately motivate them to give.
The bottom line?
Just like a for-profit organization, NPOs need an active, social media presence to maintain an emotional connection with prospective donors and supporters.
NPOs have a strategic advantage in a crowded space – meaningful, moving stories about real people that are personal and emotionally compelling. Telling these stories makes it easier for donors to remember, care about, and support your organization.
Lisa C. Dunn is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com and a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, and USA Today, among others.
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