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Monday, September 29, 2008

Communicating Your Mission with Infectious Passion

It has been said that no one ever gave to an organization because of a Power Point presentation. Or a case statement.

Fundraisers talk about case statements a lot. It’s a document that outlines the history, mission and vision of the organization, plus gives the detail of the project that is the center of the fundraising campaign. Sometimes the documents are long, and sometimes they can be a bit dry.

The question becomes, “Will the donor even read it?” Maybe not.

So, turn your case statement into a “bedtime story.”

First, you have once upon a time. What was the situation that caused your organization to come into being?

Next, introduce your hero or heroine. This might be a founder, or a current leader, or a person your organization serves. Highlight the quest or mission—what do they want or need to accomplish?

Then, put obstacles in the way. Why can’t our hero succeed in the current state?

But don’t leave it at that. Describe what happily ever after looks like. Show how the world can be a better place if the hero accomplishes his or her goals.

Finally, put the donor in the story. Show how the donor can be your “deus ex machina” or “god from the machine.” Demonstrate that your donor can help make the happily ever after, happen.

It’s very easy to fall into the habit of putting together slides and charts to communicate your cause. While valid data is still critical to support your case, if you can develop a short “once upon a time” tale, you have a great way to immediately connect with a potential contributor.

This Tip is excerpted from “Storytelling: Communicating Your Mission with Infectious Passion,” soon to be presented in Tucson, Arizona. For more information on this workshop, contact GoalBusters or check our Workshops and Presentations page.

Also, for a great article on storytelling in fundraising by Alessandra Bianchi, visit Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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