Musings of a PR Professional

Chapter 10: From Friending to Funding

Chapter 10 is all about eliciting donations from people- how to move those who are interested or involved in your organization’s particular cause from bystanders to active supporters. As is the nature of the book, the authors focus on how to do so via social media channels. They give a list of six fundraising patterns that they have seen online, one of which is “Storytelling makes fundraising personal.”

I have touched on this concept before when I talked about my group’s video project for Safe Harbor. We decided to make the focus of our video a former client of Safe Harbors as she shares her story about how Safe Harbor helped her. Filming went very, very well (but more on that in a later post).

We followed in the footsteps of an organ donation organization in Illinois called Donate Life. We watched a video in class that they produced about a man whose life was saved when a young girl passed away and donated her lungs. Emotional appeals abound in this video, which I believe are a very effective way to connect audience members to a cause and move them to action.

The authors note, “Storytelling brings alive the activities of an organization and makes their issues real and urgent for current and potential supporters. Stories put a human face on abstract ideas, provide moral clarity in a fight against unfairness, right a fundamental wrong, and celebrate triumphs over evil.” Clearly, personal narratives carry a lot of moral clout which is very powerful when encouraging people to take initiative and do the right thing.

It is imperative that people working for nonprofit organizations look past the every-day logistics of keeping a program, shelter, or whatever it may be, going. People can’t connect with hard numbers or abstract, larger-than-life concepts. They can connect with real people and real instances where a particular organization made a tangible difference.