Our Work

Your Great Story Isn’t Enough

         Use the word “You” early and often. Be warm and conversational – don’t write a term paper – in your letters, emails, and other communications to donors. Tell stories. 

         That’s the gospel we preach here at New River Communications – at least a few books of it.

         All excellent advice, too, (though judging from many letters and emails we see being sent out by non-profits large and small, it’s advice not always taken.)

         But sometimes we and other like-minded agencies make it sound too simple…

         You could come away thinking, “Awesome! Just write a letter that breaks every rule of grammar I’ve learned since fourth grade, insert “You” in every other sentence, and tell a couple of stories about our work, and ‘BAM, PRESTO,’ the money will come pouring in!”

         Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

         Close, but not quite. The part about breaking your English teacher’s grammar rules (and heart) and sprinkling more “Yous” throughout the copy is right on, but getting the storytelling part right requires more thought.   

         A recent post by Jeff Molander got me thinking about that. He writes:

The biggest beef I have with most of today’s content marketing experts is this: In the end, they claim it’s all about a good story when it’s not. You can tell the most honest, interesting, moving story possible and never get the customer to pick up the phone, send an email, make an appointment with you, click to fill out a lead form… take an action. And that’s just a waste of a good story!

         Jeff’s talking about the use of stories for sales in the commercial world, but I believe much of what he says also applies to us good people working in non-profits. Jeff doesn’t hate a good story, he just thinks it’s not enough – and I think he’s right.

         When you tell a story about your work, are you connecting it back to your donors with the most powerful offer/request for support possible? Are you moving their hearts and then making it easy for them to join in and help?  

         If your story/offer doesn’t compel a donor to take action and make it easy for them to do so, if it doesn’t draw them closer to your work and make them proud to be associated with you, if it doesn’t motivate them to think, “I love this organization. I want to do more to help – and I will!” you have to ask yourself,

         “Can I do better?”

Katapult MarketingYour Great Story Isn’t Enough