The Truth Well Told
Every charity or NGO was born out of a burning desire to change something in our society. To right a wrong, save lives or to give people a better life. No one ever founded an organisation and said, ‘we aim to reduce this problem by 2% a year’.
They all said, ‘something needs to be done now!’.
When asked about what set great fundraising organisations apart from the rest, Professor Adrian Sargeant from the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy and co-author of the Great Fundraising Report, said;
‘They re-connect with the vision, belief and passion
which created the organisation in the first place.’
This can mean only one thing: Emotion.
When an organisation gets emotionally united, magic can happen. When it does, fundraising can fly and the organisation can achieve growth that can transform their ability to bring about change and, in some cases, completely solve the problem they set out to solve.
There’s one catch, though: You cannot think emotionally. Read that again; you cannot think emotionally. It’s an oxymoron. Thinking is rational. Emotions are not. Enthusiasm comes from connecting with your cause and why you’re there in the first place. That’s where stories come in.
I have seen how storytelling has transformed organisations. Raw emotion connects people with the problem they’re trying to solve. All of a sudden, people find themselves in the emotional space that created the organisation in the first place.
The Great Fundraising Organisations didn’t just tell their stories internally. They told the world. And when the world listened, transformational fundraising growth followed.
Every organisation I have ever worked with has had powerful stories. Stories that not only could have fundamentally changed their fundraising income, but the behaviour throughout the organisation.
Sadly, not all organisations manage to tap into their stories. Quite often it boils down to the misguided notion that they have to ‘protect’ their beneficiaries. This notion not only hampers their ability to transform their fundraising, but it robs people of the opportunity to be part of the solution.
Storytelling is often healing.
Storytelling is often empowering.
Storytelling is always meaningful.
The first time I discovered the awesome power of storytelling was when I told my own story, specifically for fundraising. I had told my story many times, but when I realised that my story could transform our impact, I experienced a rush like never before.
The Great Fundraising Organisations understand this. They realise that they can maximise their impact on the world, as well as giving people an opportunity to feel really good about themselves.
One example that I find utterly inspiring is the children’s hospice Claire House. When they realised that the act of giving was healing the person giving the money, they also unlocked the power of stories. They understood that letting beneficiaries speak wouldn’t just increase income, it would create a connection between the donor and the beneficiaries that would ultimately be healing for both of them.
The results speak for themselves.