The Power of the Story

With over 165,000 currently registered charities in the UK* – more than 2,500 in Buckinghamshire alone – vying to be heard, it is increasingly difficult for charities, particularly small charities, to stand out and reach donors and supporters.

The majority of charities don’t have the budget for TV campaigns or magazine adverts, so it’s key to take the time to develop a robust marketing strategy, think about your target audience, ensure that you are using the relevant marketing channels to reach them and get to the core of your charity’s values and messaging.

Dan Jubb** from The Graphic Design House identified the fact that the market place for donations from individuals and organisations is increasingly competitive: “If you want to drive donations to your charity in that environment, you need to start by getting your messaging right. The right message, artfully delivered, can be crucial in winning new support and ensuring the loyalty and generosity of your existing supporters.”

Charities must engage with an audience that is constantly bombarded with messages, often switching between traditional and digital channels and across different devices. But the advantage that charities have is that there is often a story to tell to pull at the heartstrings of potential supporters. Storytelling is something any charity can do, no matter the size, enabling even the smallest of charities to stand out and attract donations and loyal supporters.

“Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time and it’s something the world’s biggest companies (think Nike, Airbnb and Apple) have been doing for years to build their brands. By taking cues from some of the most successful mainstream brands and putting storytelling at the heart of their comms, charities will not just increase visibility, they will really stand out.” *

Using people to tell real stories, charities can create powerful messaging and inform potential donors about the incredible work that they do – it’s a great way of explaining your vision and how you are trying to change your community for the better. By sharing case stories and volunteers’ experiences, organisations are able to spread the word about the impact of what they do for the community without just talking about fact and figures – coming direct from the mouth of beneficiaries and volunteers is extremely impactful and powerful.

“The best stories come from project staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and fundraisers,” according to Diane Rutter, Acting CEO at Community Impact Bucks. “Without a doubt, your organisation is doing incredible work, but you need to let your community know that. It’s important to think about how your story is told and why supporters would want to hear and care about it. Imagery is key, as is a strong, simple call to action. Supporters need to be moved to donate and find it simple to do so.”

A combination of background information, case studies and success stories, will help supporters to understand your work and why your organisation is so important and necessary. However, in a world full of vloggers, infographics and YouTube videos, it’s vital to keep text to a minimum – keep it short, memorable, engaging and full of imagery.

Finally, it’s vital that you finish with a clear call to action whether that be to donate money, sign up to an event, volunteer or encourage supporters and organisations to share your stories on social media.

Join Community Impact Bucks on 2nd October for our annual conference ‘Into the Spotlight: Getting Your Voice Heard” where industry experts will be sharing their expertise, with hands on advice on how to focus on your cause, develop your story and increase your profile.

*The Drum Network …link

**Dan Jubb from The Graphic Design House …link