The Power of Storytelling in Nonprofit Cause Marketing

Via @DonorPro

Posted by Elicia Tedrow

The Power of Storytelling in Nonprofit Cause Marketing

One of the keys to inspiring and connecting with your donor base is simply to tell a good story. Fifty-six percent of nonprofit supporters say that compelling storytelling is what motivates them to take action on behalf of an organization. However, good storytelling-the kind that influences the audience’s behaviors or actions is hard to accomplish. According to a study of nonprofit marketing professionals, 66% of respondents struggle with and are launching initiatives for becoming better storytellers.

A nonprofit’s story is the driving force behind its cause. It is one of the first things that new and potential donors learn about an organization, which makes it key to donor acquisition. It is also what keeps donors and other constituents interested and involved. With so many elements relying on an effective and engaging story, nonprofits that lack one could be severely limiting their success. Analyze how powerful your cause marketing stories are and ways that you can improve them with these tips. 

Be compelling, but be honest.

Organizations should never fabricate or skew their story to engage supporters. Individuals value a transparent story and will likely detect a bogus one. Nonprofits can incorporate statistics into their stories to reinforce their authenticity, but should keep the focus on personal anecdote. Personal anecdotes of nonprofit beneficiaries can establish an emotional connection with viewers.

Look for new and creative ways to present your story.

The story is important, but how you tell it is even more crucial. If you are using digital storytelling, how the content is presented can affect its success. For instance, telling a story through video is becoming increasingly popular, because more people are consuming video content than ever before. Also, studies have shown that video grabs the attention of viewers, with 80% of online viewers watching a video in its entirety compared to 20% reading content in its entirety. However, it is important to choose the best platforms to reach your target audiences too. The highest consumers of online video are 18-34 year olds, so if your audience is outside of that range, it may also be viable to explore other methods like newsletters or email marketing.

Combine stories with data. 

So you crafted and delivered the perfect story, now what? With the age of big data and analytics, it is more possible than ever to track how your audience perceived it. For instance, if the story was in the form of a blog, how long did users stay on the page? If it was a video, did they watch it in its entirety? Using these metrics, nonprofits can hone and improve the effectiveness of their storytelling.

Encourage others to share your story.

If people listen to your story, that’s great. However, if people listen to your story and also are driven to share it with others, that’s when you know that it is a success. Empower those that listen to your story by telling them how their support helps and suggest other ways that they can support your organization.

As more and more nonprofits increase their use of data and technology to aid in fundraising campaigns and donor retention, the power of a good story shouldn’t get lost in the mix. Storytelling may only one part of a larger integrated fundraising strategy however, it sets the foundation for many of the other parts.



6 Reasons 2014 Donors Might Not Give to Your Cause in 2015

Via @DonorPro

Posted by Jessica Piccola

Nov 21, 2014 11:38:31 AM

6 Reasons 2014 Donors Might Not Give to Your Cause in 2015

Getting individuals to donate to your particular organization in 2015 could be a different challenge for some nonprofits. At the end of each fiscal year, most donate due to holiday giving campaigns in addition to benefit their own interests on their upcoming taxes. Starting January, your organization will have the inevitable decline in fundraising, but you may have a few more hurdles this upcoming year to increase that support again.
When it comes to charity, it’s believed that people “give with their hearts, not their heads.” Donating is a mind and thought process ruled by the emotional part of the brain. You need to go beyond logic and strike an emotional cord. A key factor is creating a personal connection is by framing your organization’s mission and work. Fundraising has to be about understanding psychology to utilize and leverage technology, communications, and a branding and mission strategy. Only then will your donor retention improve.

Bad publicity of “scams” in the sector

While you can control the information your organization shares and its message, outside forces can also evoke feelings and conceptions about nonprofits. News coverage has exposed many unethical organizations. A reoccurring, and increasing, practice is organizations “masquerading” as well known charities, for example, by operating under a similar name. Others have leveraged certain causes or beneficiaries, most notably veterans, to elicit donations that don’t go to the proposed purpose.

While trust in nonprofits, and the acknowledgment of their need, has generally increased, any bad press is and can be detrimental to smaller, less established organizations. The “name brands” charities – large, national nonprofits – still receive the majority of total donations; people associate size and name recognition with trustworthiness.
Distrust of large nonprofit management

Transparency is an important factor in trust. Donors want a clear idea of where their dollars will actually be divested and used to accomplish. More affluent donors are more likely to be educated on current events, such as the many upheavals in management and scandals of some of the large national nonprofits. Trust stems from authority and consistency, which influences fundraising campaigns. The most publicized organizations in the sector often set the standard of perceptions of nonprofits, which funnels downs.
“Charitable planning” and the economy

The economy is recovering from the Great Recession, though it may not translate into better fundraising ability for your nonprofit. A new era of more cautious spending has emerged, and some donors are doing their due diligence.
Charitable planning is becoming a popular personal financial service. Donors view charitable giving as a financial investment in addition to a social one, and emphasis on making strategic charitable contributions is gaining traction.

It’s not easy and simple enough

Convenience is crucial. People today, particularly young donors and professionals, lead busy lives and won’t be bothered with organizations that require a lot of thought and planning. Nonprofit websites need to be found by search engines, easy and quick to navigate, and optimized for mobile with responsive web design for the best user experience.  Low-involvement media, such as social, can be the easiest platform to reach and engage donors.

Publicizing good deeds and “joining the crowd”

People want to be apart of something “bigger than themselves.” They also want to fit in and be like everybody else on some level. This could explain the phenomenon and popularity that yellow silicone Livestrong bands, FEED bags, and most recently, viral videos for the Ice Bucket Challenge on social media have all experienced.  

Individuals, then, get the ability to display their altruistic deeds and “brag” about their good will and caring. With the mass appeal and use of social media, people share their passions and philanthropic actions easily. They now virtually – and virally – are campaigning for organizations and causes, with their friends and family typically following suit. The institution of viral campaigning and leveraging donations through the masses can ignite fundraising overnight. In result though, your organization can get left out of the hype and also the giving.

Cannibalism of funding among charities 

Viral public social campaigns have gained widespread participation. In addition, social problems have been garnering the public’s attention and organizations are collating everyday to help provide aid. These campaigns inevitably also capture donor dollars – dollars that may have otherwise gone to your fundraising efforts. 

With only limited funds individuals are willing or able to give to charitable causes – consistently, donations have accounted for about 2% of GDP – the concept of “donation cannibalism” is concerning for nonprofits. Though society should still benefit as a whole, individual nonprofits and communities may take a hit from donors allotting their discretionary income to others in lieu.

Nonprofits operate in an environment in which each organization must overcome stigmas and competition when struggling to fundraise. It’s all about emotions, and the information out there often evokes feelings and hard-to-change attitudes.

Solution: Transparency & Technology

A nonprofit doesn’t necessarily need a gimmick to contend with other organizations, but it does needs transparency and technology to retain the donors they’ve already acquired. Peer-to-peer fundraising initiatives, for one, take advantage of social and digital media while using an organization’s greatest asset to endorse it: loyal supporters.

Brand and market your organization to fundraise around how donors think, feel, and behave. Focusing on encouraging emotional connotations – like empowerment rather than shame or guilt – can create positive associates with your organization and increase fundraising. 

Infographic for Conquering Grassroots Fundraising

WhyPeopleGive (Infographic) #GivingTuesday

Via @salsalabs

Everything You Need To Know About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is the official start to the holiday giving season. Hot on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (on December 2, this year), #GivingTuesday is a chance for people to give back, by making a donation to their favorite nonprofit organization and then spreading the word of their gift to family and friends.

Why People Give - Infographic

Save the Date: December 2nd, 2014

How does your organization participate in #GivingTuesday? Start by planning for end-of-year-fundraising during the slower summer months and into the fall. You can sign up to participate officially on the #GivingTuesday website, Then download the free partner toolkit – it’s loaded with useful resources like sample emails and tweets, marketing messages, logos and media materials.

Sound like a lot of planning and work? It doesn’t have to be that way. Salsa can help you make your year-end campaign a success with our Fundraising platform. If you’re not a Salsa client (yet) and want to find out more, let us know.

Hey, Salsa clients! Using Salsa for your year-end giving activities, email us and we’ll showcase your logo and link to your Salsa donation page right here.

2014 #GivingTuesday Resources

Blog Articles

EOYF Client Donation Pages

Check out some of our client’s donation pages

Watch the Webinar: #GivingTuesday – Plans that work


Prayers For Itu


Itu is the founder of a daycare and drop-in centre in Soshanguve, just North of Pretoria. I was fortunate enough to meet this wonderful man early in 2013. He, his team and the children in his care live in extreme poverty, yet he found it in his heart to reach out to others, to help these children. Some of them come to the school bruised and battered, scared, hungry and alone….a shell of a being. With time and kind words, support and education, Itu brings the little person inside that shell back into the light. He heals the wounds and prepares them (together with his team of teachers) for a future that holds a little bit more hope.

This morning I spoke to him again and he is desperately ill. He has been struggling with his health for quite a while and says he is very tired. So, please, if you can find it in your heart to think of him in prayer…please do so. The world shouldn’t lose someone with a heart like this….someone whom, despite his own mistakes, faults and decisions were perhaps shunned by the world….but, despite that, he could still reach a hand to those in need.

RockOfHope Needs Baby Products – can you help?


Baby Products for Donor Request

The team at Rock of Hope is currently caring for nearly 10 children (nearly half of them under the age of 6 months). Mientjie Prozesky confirmed this morning that this tiny place of safety in Montana Park, Pretoria,  desperately needs some of the following items to take care of the little ones:

  • Nappies – sizes 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Nan baby formula nrs 1 and 2
  • Baby first foods – cereal, Purity,  etc
  • Baby bath products – wet wipes, bum cream, vaseline, ear buds, baby oils, body lotion, shampoo, etc.

Any financial contribution would also be welcomed. Click here for account details. You are welcome to email me here on find me on Facebook if you are able to help the facility.

I am planning an event on Saturday, 29 November and, if you wish to donate some of the items, you can either deliver it yourself on the day and meet the team OR you can contact me for pick-up/delivery and I will drop it off on your behalf.

SMS: HOPE to 40242 (@R20/SMS) to support Rock Of Hope

These little ones are taken into Mientjie’s private home, where she acts as mother to them until they are transferred to foster or adoptive parents. The babies have either been removed from abusive parents or parents unable to care for them or they have simply been abandoned at birth. Some of the older children have been severely traumatized. Not only does she and her small staff do all the basic mothering, they also have to see that the toddlers are enrolled in pre-school, that the traumatized gets counselling, the babies their vaccinations…if the little ones get sick, she has to take them to a doctor……….in addition to that she is a full-time teacher at a local primary school.

Rock of Hope gets little funding and what they receive are immediately invested in giving optimal care to the babies and toddlers. If you, then, can find it in your heart to help this home and its brave ”mother”, please get in touch NOW or SMS: HOPE to 40242 to donate R 20-00 immediately.

Rock of Hope – Mientjie and Wouter on the children’s blessing-day at church