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So, What’s Your Story?

“Stories” are all the rage now in fundraising.

As they should be.

Every nonprofit I know works hard at telling their stories to their donors.

But do we ever think about asking our donors to tell us THEIR stories?

I was channel-surfing the other night and happened upon one of those “vintage music” shows on PBS.  They find old rock-and-roll groups, have a concert, film it, and intersperse the footage with lots of requests for donations to your local PBS station.

I know you’ve seen them.  It must work, because there’s a raft of those shows.

The one I happened upon featured old “doo-wop” groups.  O, my.  You could tell where some of the members of the group had passed away because younger singers were taking their place.

Here’s the point.  It was a big concert hall and the audience loved the music.  They would jump to their feet and clap and sing along at every occasion.

But I noticed one thing.  It happened at the beginning of every song.

The audience didn’t start clapping and shouting right away.  There was a gap of 4-5 seconds where they were just – listening.

And then they erupted.  What was the trigger?

What were they waiting for?

The audience was listening to hear if this rendition of the song sounded exactly the way they remembered the song to be.

Then, and only then, did the audience go crazy.

Are we the way our donors want to remember us?

Every one of our donors has a reason they support our organizations.  It is their story.  I call it, their “Why.”

They have a picture of the organization in their mind.  The way they remember it, or the way they hope it is today.  Those are their stories.

The more we can understand our donors’ stories, and the more our donors feel our organization is how they remember it to be, the closer we come to their unwavering support.

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