Nonprofit Storytelling Will Get You New Millennial Donors

May 31, 2022

Nonprofit Storytelling as a marketing strategy

Let’s get real, marketing isn’t about what you’re selling. It’s about the story you tell. This is especially true for nonprofits, which use emotion to tug at people’s heart strings.

Nonprofits are at the forefront of joyful and heartbreaking experiences. They should leverage their raw material to create powerful stories that inspire hope. Storytelling fuels supporters to take action, such as donating or volunteering.
Woman thinking about nonprofit storytelling while holding big book

Nonprofit Stories have a purpose

Stories are a great tool for fundraising, raising awareness and making real connections. Nonprofit storytelling should inspire people to make that call to action.

While nonprofit storytelling aims to communicate impact, it can also build trust. Building trust is an essential part of fundraising. But, how can you gain donor loyalty when only 20% of Americans report that they trust charities? The answer isn’t complicated: Have an impactful story to tell. Motivate your donors through the power of storytelling.


Why stories work

Think about the last big decision you made. Were you motivated more by data or emotion? In the end, emotion wins. Stories make people feel things. This makes them an excellent source of influence for the third sector. 

Consider this: If you want your friend to come to a restaurant, you don’t tell them the price of the salad or the head chef’s education. You talk about the food and the atmosphere. Because experiencing tasty food and a nice environment produces positive emotions.  

Studies show when we’re given data, only the language processing part of our brain activates. We tend to remember a story much longer than we remember a fact. Why? We’ve been hard-wired for stories since the dawn of evolution. So, more parts of our brain light up when we hear a story. It makes sense that 95% of purchasing decisions are driven by emotions! It’s feelings that we connect with most. 

Stories are impactful. They help nonprofits inspire loyalty, grow membership, and improve conversions. Without funds, nonprofit organizations can’t achieve their goals. And without a good story, it’s very difficult to get funding.

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Let’s get empathetic 

If your story doesn’t invoke empathy, then you’re only communicating facts and figures. And as we know, data isn’t enough on its own to inspire change. Nonprofits need captivating storytelling to inspire charitable giving. You don’t want your supporters only interested in your mission, you want them inspired by it. People want to feel something.

Creating empathy can be hard for nonprofits that focus on environmental causes. But, these organizations can get personal by tying their narratives to real people. Getting to the hearts of your supporters is about translating facts into feelings. Empathy promotes prosocial attitudes. When you make people feel, you’ll promote fundraising, even with tough audiences. If you’re uncertain about your storytelling skills, don’t worry. You’ll learn the art of storytelling by telling your story. 

The hardest audience to reach is the generation that responds the best to stories.


Why millennials love stories

As the most media-exposed group, millennials value originality. Storytelling is what will convert a millennial prospect into a donor. It isn’t enough to explain your organization’s goals. You need to gain their trust through honest, real stories. It’s that trust that will get millennials to your fundraising event. 

Fake ads, lazy sales writing and boring ideas– this generation has seen the worst of marketing. As a result, they’re the toughest to impress. So don’t bother with a simple ask; instead, tell a compelling story that promotes empathy. It will tell millennials that you care about building connections. And an authentic relationship is what will bring you a lasting donor.

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Ash Webb

Marketing Assistant

Brand Development, Copywriting & Targeted Messaging

Ash is our marketing assistant from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has always been passionate about helping others in creative ways. Ash focuses on assisting our clients with developing the voice and messaging of their brand.

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