Storytelling for #GivingTuesday plays a unique role in your organization’s communication plan. #GivingTuesday on Mightycause isn’t just about donations. As a nonprofit organization, your goal is to inspire your community to invest in your cause. Storytelling is the foundation of creating long-term supporters for your mission. Supporters donate, volunteer, spread the word, and champion your work.
#GivingTuesday is the perfect time to gather new donors and engage your faithful supporters! You have a limited time to drive donors to your campaign in order to reach your funding goals. This means your storytelling needs to be current, impactful and well-planned.
Nonprofit storytelling for #GivingTuesday can be broken down into three phases:
- Prepare to Publish
During your preparation, you’ll consider multiple factors that when brought together create a powerful story for #GivingTuesday.
First, determine your Angle.
We can’t talk about everything, but we have to talk about something. Remember #GivingTuesday is a limited-time campaign. Your angle should be laser-focused on what you are asking of your donors. For example:
- Does your organization have an immediate need?
- Are you rolling out a new initiative?
- Do you have a long-standing program that relies on #GivingTuesday funds?
Your angle must be:
- Simple to communicate
- Easy to understand
- Conducive to visual storytelling
- Tied to your nonprofit’s mission
- Broad enough that you can tie in multiple related stories, such as testimonials.
Second, review your Mission.
What is your organization all about?
Your nonprofit’s mission presents the ideas at the core of your nonprofit’s work. These ideas are your bedrock principles; they are simple ideas that explain why you do the work you do. Ultimately, as a nonprofit, you are not asking your community to support your programs and services — you are asking them to buy into the ideas and principles that fuel your programs and services.
It can be helpful to refer to your nonprofit’s mission statement if you’re not sure where to begin.
Third, define your Key Messages.
Once you know your mission, Break it down into 2 to 3 key messages. These should be broad and speak to your why rather than your what.
For example, let’s say your nonprofit is a food bank. Two solid key messages could be:
- “We believe that all people should be free from hunger.”
- “Communities need to work together to serve others who need a helping hand.”
For #GivingTuesday you may be tempted to pick how many people your food bank feeds every year as a key message. But that’s a what and not a why. So instead of discussing what your food bank does to address hunger in your community, highlight why.
Now you’re ready to form your #GivingTuesday Messages.
Now that you have your angle, mission, and key messages – combine them.
Zero in on 2 to 3 #GivingTuesday messages in light of your angle. As we mentioned, #GivingTuesday is a limited-time, laser-focused campaign. We need just a few key messages that highlight the mission of your organization but focus on the angle.
Things to define in your #GivingTuesday messages could include:
- The impact of supporters coming together to support your cause on #GivingTuesday.
- A specific program or new initiative.
- A suggested donation amount that is specific to an immediate need
- Any message closely related to your campaign’s angle.
You’ll want to keep your messaging broad but focused. The key messages will be promoted a number of times leading up to and on Giving Tuesday. So the messages should be broad enough to weave into your various promotional outlets such as your email communication and social media posts.
Continuing with our food bank example, #GivingTuesday messages might be:
- Today we come together to work toward ending food instability in our community.
- A gift of just $25 can feed a family of 3 for a week.
- Our community has a responsibility to help those among us suffering from hunger.
TADA! You have created your nonprofit storytelling funnel for #GivingTuesday.
Your organization’s angle, mission, and key messages funnel into your content. It isn’t choosing one over the other.
→ Your mission matters.
→→→ Your messages get your mission done.
→→→→→→ Your angle presents your messages to your community.
Your key messages should be at the center of all your nonprofit storytelling for #GivingTuesday. When you’re choosing which stories to tell, when you’re picking testimonials, when you’re scripting and editing your videos, or when you’re drafting an email- your key messages should be the foundation of each.
These messages will act as a guide when you’re building your content. When you and your team go through this process, you will find that these messages often result in content more or less writing itself — they are a great guiding light as you prepare to connect with your supporters about #GivingTuesday.
Next, consider How you will tell your #GivingTuesday story.
Videos, social media posts, emails?
Each organization is different. So look to see which mediums resonate with your community and consider your marketing resources. Think about what outreach has worked in the past and how you can up your game this year.
When speaking about the rule of 7 in marketing, Indeed.com reminds us that engaging your donors through “a variety of methods frequently can help to build trust.” Don’t be afraid to tell your #GivingTuesday story often and through multiple mediums.
A few suggestions are:
- A video. Having a video on #GivingTuesday is recommended because you can use it in so many different ways — on your website, on social media, in emails, on your Mightycause page. You can even show it at an in-person event! If you’re not sure how to go about making one, put a call out on social media and email for a volunteer videographer who can help you put one together. But even if you can’t find a videographer, you can DIY a #GivingTuesday video by splicing together photos, video footage (which phones are actually pretty great at capturing) and using a free online video editor like YouTube Editor, apps like VivaVideo, and Capcut, or websites like Kizoa.
- Photos. Gather photos you can use on #GivingTuesday. Photos will especially help keep things interesting on social media. They can help spice up your emails, bring flare to your story on Mightycause, and can be added to your website and/or blog.
- Social media share graphics. Use the photos you’ve gathered to create some shareable graphics for #GivingTuesday! Add a quote from a testimonial or a call to action, along with the #GivingTuesday logo. (Download logos here.) Free online tools like Canva can help you easily create eye-catching share graphics already formatted for social media on a budget.
- Draft emails/blog posts. These will be a bit more long-form than your social media posts, so you can make sure you add in all the details and flare you’d like. These longer pieces can help inform the shorter pieces you’ll need to produce, such as your social media posts. Check-out #GivingTuesday email templates here: #GivingTuesday Email Templates and Best Practices.
Finally, choose your #GivingTuesday Characters.
Every great story needs great characters. And in nonprofit fundraising, having relatable characters is essential because they bring the issues of your work down to a personal level. It can be hard for the everyday person to relate to hunger, animal welfare, or humanitarian work . These are big, overwhelming topics and often the public puts on blinders because it’s hard for many of us to wrap our heads around them. By connecting these issues to a person or story (i.e. a family your food bank helped feed, an animal your shelter rescued, or a refugee in crisis that your organization supported) the average person is able to then connect emotionally to your cause.
For example, if your organization is working to raise awareness and funds for dogs in puppy mills, you can share the journey of one dog’s rescue from a puppy mill to a safe home. This can make a big, complex issue feel personal. And the character of your story is a single puppy.
Here are some things you’ll want to consider when choosing your storytelling characters for #GivingTuesday:
- Does their story help us tell our story?
- Can we easily contact them?
- Are they available to tell their story in their own words?
- Is it a unique angle that hasn’t become cliche or overused by similar organizations?
After you determine the kind of characters you are looking for, contact anyone whose story you wish to use in your storytelling for #GivingTuesday. Your reach might be organization-wide or specific to just a few ideal characters. It’s up to you.
Before you reach out, make sure you are prepared to engage:
- Have a few initial questions ready to ask in case you only have one interaction.
- Prepare interview questions.
- Be ready to deviate from the interview if the conversation flows differently
- Have waivers or permission forms readily available if you intend to use pictures, videos, or quotes. Be sure to follow your organization’s policies for this content.
Diligent preparation will make writing easier.
Just start writing!
Get essential information out of your head and onto paper or the computer.
Don’t worry about proofreading as you go. Just write. As you find your flow you will begin to find the storytelling for #GivingTuesday just happens.
After the initial information is out of your head, consider your audience. Who are you writing to and how do you want them to receive your story for #GivingTuesday?
Also, identify your channels of communication and tailor your story to suit each channel. Make a list of all the different ways you’ll communicate with the public before and on the day of #GivingTuesday. Then consider a #GivingTuesday strategy for each. For instance:
- How are you telling your story on Mightycause? Are you creating a #GivingTuesday-specific fundraiser page or using your organization page?
- Where on your website will you promote #GivingTuesday? When will you announce it?
- Do you have a #GivingTuesday email schedule? Can you add #GivingTuesday marketing to your upcoming direct mail campaigns? (Utilize our email templates here: #GivingTuesday Email Templates and Best Practices)
- Which social media platforms will you use? And how many posts do you plan to make on each platform? (Need some social media post ideas, check out our recent blog, #GivingTuesday Social Media Sample Posts (Facebook and Twitter.)
- How many blogs will you post about #GivingTuesday?
- What media contacts can you use to help publicize your #GivingTuesday campaign?
- Do you have any opportunities to market your #GivingTuesday campaign at upcoming in-person events; do you have one planned for the big day?
- Are you able to post fliers or posters in your nonprofit’s facilities? And do you have the foot traffic to make this effective?
It’s time to tweak your #GivingTuesday story.
No storytelling is ever complete with the first draft.
Once you have completed the first draft of your story walk away from it for a while. When you come back you’ll have a clear mind to start refining your story and customizing it for your different audiences and communication methods.
Keep these 5 things in mind:
- Avoid: Deleting content. You may need to remove a phrase, sentence, or paragraph. That’s ok; just be sure to paste it somewhere else for the time being. You may want to reuse or revisit the information later.
- Be sure: Your #GivingTuesday messages are at the center of your stories.
- Consider: Does the story need to be more lighthearted? Does it need greater detail or less? Have you gone off on a tangent or become too technical? Should this be two different stories?
- Distinguish: Which communication channels will include what. You’ll find that different channels may be better suited for different aspects of your stories. Being willing to adjust!
- Enlist: Others to help edit. A totally fresh pair of eyes can tell you if something is missing or doesn’t seem clear. They will see things you read over. It’s just the way it is. It happens to every writer.
Prepare to Publish
The last task is to create the exact #GivingTuesday story you will publish.
How does your story look?
This is more than making the video or adding the #GivingTuesday logo to your pictures. This is generating the full blog post with the donate button and video embedded. Prepare exactly what will be launched to your community.
Storytelling for #GivingTuesday includes your text, pictures, and videos. Be sure these are all visually appealing for each of your outreach avenues. What works for a large poster will not necessarily work for a flyer. And don’t trust that your formatting will work for every social media platform. Double-check what your content looks like on desktop and mobile devices.
Most importantly, DON’T NEGLECT THE FINAL EDIT! What is the final edit? It is the last look before you post your #GivingTuesday story to the public. You don’t want a typo front and center. And let’s face it, we all read what we think it says when we are reading it for the 100th time. Ask others to do the final proofread!
For example: On #GivingTuesday you want to give thanks to your supporters. You do not want to give tanks to your supporters.
Coordinate Your #GivingTuesday Content Launch Calendar.
Launching your content is a key part of storytelling for #GivingTuesday.
Once everything is ready to go public, create a content launch calendar. Determine what and when to post and send. Everything doesn’t go out at once. You’ll want to ration photos and videos based on timing, bonus challenges, and general audience activity.
For example: Don’t launch your best story video at 6am or 9pm. You’ll miss the bulk of your supporters.
One of the great things about storytelling for #GivingTuesday is that it’s ok to reuse content. Just because the video, photo, or quote has been used once, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used again. In fact, you want to be reiterating your key #GivingTuesday messages to your community. (Don’t forget what Indeed.com said- variety and frequency.) But you will want to have a schedule preplanned so that you can keep straight what you have used and will use.
Also, make sure someone else has the content launch schedule just in case you need to delegate. Crazy things happen on #GivingTuesday.
Not to mention, having your emails, posts, newsletters, postcards, and everything else ready to go out makes your life leading up to and on #GivingTuesday so much easier! All you want to do the day of is click “Send.”
Pro-tip: with little to no effort, you can transition your storytelling for #GivingTuesday into storytelling for year-end fundraising. So keep your content and keep your schedule close by.
Let’s recap your storytelling for #GivingTuesday.
Preparation is the key to storytelling for #GivingTuesday!
First, determine your angle, mission, and key messages. Combine these to create your #GivingTuesday messages. Decide how you are going to engage your community and enlist your storytelling characters.
Next, start writing! Get your thoughts out of your head. Take time to imagine your audience and decide on your communication channels. Then edit your story to make sure your #GivingTuesday messages are front and center.
Finally, prepare to publish. Create the exact content you will share with your community. Add your graphics, embed your videos, and double-check the formatting. Schedule the sending and the posting of each item. And most importantly – proofread one more time!!