Insights to Power Social Good

How to Touch Hearts and Boost Donations

Posted by Angela Whaley on Dec 5, 2018 7:27:29 PM


First, if you are reading this, thank you for being here. We share a profound yearning to make the world a better place. 

How The American Cancer Society Learned to Touch Hearts To Boost Donations

There was an article recently shared around the office titled “How The American Cancer Society Learned To Touch Hearts To Boost Donations” and we can all learn from their conclusion about what motivates a donor to give.

Maybe unsurprisingly, they found that “donors don’t connect with titles, statistics or large numbers; they connect with one person’s story.” The important distinction here is not just a story, but the story of one person.

Why? Because we are inherently social and emotional humans. Statistics and big numbers are not social and not emotional (arguably.)

We depend on each other for survival and happiness. It is easier for us to relate to one individual over a group of people.

For example: curing cancer is a massive undertaking, but driving a kid to chemotherapy is simple. Funding cancer research is complicated, but providing insurance advice to someone in treatment is achievable.

Screenshot 2018-12-05 16.22.44

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

According to Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling from HBR, “a story must first sustain attention – a scarce resource in the brain – by developing tension during the narrative. If the story is able to create that tension then it is likely that attentive viewers/listeners will come to share the emotions of the characters in it, and after it ends, likely to continue mimicking the feelings and behaviors of those characters.”

Ok, so storytelling is important. We probably already knew that. How can we best implement storytelling into our December strategies for a strong end of year? 


Exponential Fundraising Advice from Jennifer McCrea

Some exceptional advice from our friend Jennifer McCrea as you craft your next campaign:

  • Issues separate us. Values unite us.
  • Money should never be at the center of the relationship. The work is at the center of the relationship. (Read her great blog on this: Does Money Mean Safety?)
  • Strike the words “help, fix, and broken” from your vocabulary. These words create an inauthentic power dynamic. Instead, ask “How can we work together? Can you take responsibility for this?”
  • Pay attention to messaging around goal versus cost. Your goal is not to raise $1M, that is the cost. The goal is to provide lifesaving research, more birthdays, more time, etc.
  • Be aware of focusing too much on tribe and community, which can sometimes lead to ego and not a partnership mentality.

Still in need of some inspiration? Book a fundraising session with us, then watch (or rewatch) this TedTalk from David JP Phillips: The Magical Science of Storytelling.



Topics: Strategies and Tactics, Social Good, Fundraising Ideas, year-end, holiday giving, Fundraising, content, Marketing, Digital Marketing, storytelling

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