Story of Self, How to Tell your Philanthropy’s Story


Every strong philanthropic organization will tell you that they need to have a persona, a value, and an understanding that can be translated and understood to each of their donors within the general public. While having a nice pitch can get you those little wins, you want to make sure that your story is truly representing the organization’s principles and mission in every one of your calls or presentations. This type of story telling-pitch cannot just enhance your organization’s marketing image, but also improve your fundraising objectives closer to your quarterly goals.

But what does it mean to have a good story? Isn’t a pitch a story in itself?

While that is true, an impactful philanthropic story for any nonprofit can go a long way in changing and shaping the essence of an organization. Simply telling people the problem and asking them to donate is not enough for them to be sold. Instead, it takes a strong commitment in developing a relationship with the crowd to truly steal the show.

In many ways, I call this the story of self. In any philanthropy, you need to establish your identity. While highlighting numbers and grow will play a necessary role in proving your philanthropy’s mission, you also have to be cognizant that you are talking to people. Because of this, you want to make sure you are meaningful and intentional. Having that level of control and confidence is the first step in establishing your presence with the person (or crowd). Once you are able to greet them with an informative background pitch on yourself, you then want to highlight the problem.

When highlighting the problem, the best way to sell it is by tapping into the emotions. At the end of the day, your nonprofit does incredible and meaningful work. But to show them that work, you unveil the true world around them. For any layperson, they are aware that there are various social problems going on in the world. The only difference is that they only know the surface. To enhance their understanding, discuss the ever-growing social problem your organization is fighting against. Go in detail by highlighting a particular story that you know that they can sympathize with. Then drive it home with both the passion and ever-growing facts that this problem can have if we do not stop it today. By organizing your story in that way, you will be able to affectively and informatively highlight the ins-and-outs of your social problem.

Once they are able to comprehend the issue, start by introducing your philanthropy’s work and your overall mission. At times, you may require you to spell it out for them. But to showcase the large extent of your nonprofit’s impact is something that can open their eyes. Be specific if you have to. The more detail you can give them, like a personalize story, the better.

Then end it with a close and thank them. Now, for any fundraising campaign, you wan to make sure you have a logistical system that can consolidate all of their personal information. This can be a sign-in sheet, sign-in cards, or a more tech version of the two so that you can contact them even further. Be sure to note how and where they can donate and support your organization.

How to Improve your Fundraising Brand


In the nonprofit sector, we strive to communicate with donors in the ways that they prefer. In fact, because of how vital branding has become to the overall success of reaching a fundraising goal, many NGOs and nonprofit organizations are transitioning their efforts in improving and reinvigorating their organization’s brand each and everyday. To do this successfully, an organization, first and foremost, needs to understand and comprehend the importance of branding.

To start, branding is not just a logo or a name. Instead, it is the face, the voice, and the reason for your entire organization. In crux of the matter, it is the necessary tool needed to grow and develop your business in both reaching and expanding its fundraising goals and awareness each and every quarter. Because of its importance, one question does come to mind: How can I create and establish a strong, effective, and consistent branding campaign in order help with my organization’s fundraising efforts?

To put it simply, it all comes down to strategy. While NGOs may have a different purpose than for-profit businesses, there are various branding strategies that your organization can utilize in order to market and improve its brand to the general public. Below, I have highlighted five helpful branding tips you can apply for your fundraising campaign. While, these tips may not guarantee financial success, they can help forge new relationships and strengthen ones you already have.

1. Differentiate your Message

When highlighting your message of your nonprofit organization, you want to make sure you are coming across both authentic and professional. Start off by asking yourself WHY people should give and donate to your organization instead of others? That is essentially the question that will drive differentiation. While it is great that there are so many nonprofits trying to tackle various social problems going on in the world, you also have to be cognizant of how their support can impact and transform your entire organization. To help differentiate yourself, start off with your story. Ask yourself how did your organization get there and why you do the work you do.  From there, discuss your methods, your solutions, and most importantly your goal. For this to be affective, make sure you are honest about your work. The more transparent you can be, the stronger and more unique, your message will come across for each and every one of your donors.

2. Personalize your Organization

Believe it or not, many philanthropic organizations are criticized for being dishonest or untrustworthy. For some, it could be because of an image problem. For others, it could be because of a specific situation. Whatever is the case, make sure your philanthropy centralizes their brand in a more personalized humanistic approach. To do this, highlight your stories. For many NGOs, they try to leverage their stories as marketing pitches. Rather than make that mistake, continue to present your work with honest successful stories that include your efforts, your goals, and your overall financial mission. At the end of the day, people who donate want to make sure their money is going to go to something bigger than themselves. Show that their donations are by highlighting those impactful wins.

3. Recruit Volunteers to Brand

Whether you are a thriving NGO conglomeration or a small startup philanthropy, it is incredibly important that you leverage all the help that you can get. With that being said, be sure that your philanthropy is recruiting various volunteers. These volunteers can help market and brand your mission both on the streets and online. One way to make this effective and productive is by creating actionable objectives you would like your volunteers to hit such as putting up fliers, giving speeches, or providing maintenance on various popular social media platforms. By giving them that sense of responsibility and urgency, you will be able to reach an even stronger crowd, while also igniting the passion and work culture for your volunteers.

4. Sympathize your Brand

For any successful philanthropic brand, you want to make sure you are able to tap into the emotions to drive supports and donations your way. This works hand in hand with relating the message to the entire population. To do this affectively, assume the perspective of the donor. Understand what can necessarily impact them to a point where they will donate. This can be driving the perspective of the victim or highlighting the negatives of a natural disaster. Whatever is the case, make sure you leverage emotions as much as possible.

5. Associate your Symbol with your Motto

When we think of Nike, we think, ‘Just Do It.’ When we think of Teach For America, we think of ‘One day, all children will have access to an excellent education.’ For your brand, you want to make sure you can associate your name, your symbol, and your motto as one. To do this affectively, make sure you are able to highlight an appeal image and message that people can understand. Then be consistent. The more frequent you are using the phrase, the better.

Fundraising 101: How to Sell Your Idea

selling idea

We all remember those elementary school days when you had to fundraise for the classroom. All you needed to do was smile, give a one-minute embarrassing pitch, and hope that your family friend or neighbor found you adorable enough to donate a few dollars to your cause. While times have changed and the causes have altered, the concept for fundraising is the same. Donors look for that unique differentiated personable communication before they decide to donate. When you are fundraising for a cause, you are not just selling an idea, but also selling yourself.

So how do you fundraise? How can you make that sale?

One thing to remember is that personalization is a big key in gaining donor support. Like it or not, the minute you start talking, you become the spokesperson, the face, and the poster child for your organization. It is your job to captivate the crowd with your charisma and attitude. Be informative, but not too serious. And as always, be sympathetic. Think of this as if you are telling a story. If you were to look at the strongest fundraising campaigns, you would see how a majority of them start off with a story. It is that story that provides the necessary emotional appeal to get that person over the hump to donate.

Below, you will find five key concepts that can help you sell your idea. These helpful tips will guide you in creating a stronger, organic, and rich campaign for your organization to thrive on.

Be Informative

Before you start with your story, you want to make sure you know all of the facts. Providing valid and sound facts, statistics, and data about your cause can only aid you in your process. In addition, having this type of information gives your pitch stronger credibility. To do this, start with the bigger picture. Brainstorm your subject and write down information about the cause itself. Make sure you do your homework and provide an adequate amount of research. If possible, try and speak with one of the leaders of the campaign to gain more insight on the cause. The more you know about your topic, the more confident you will be providing this information to a layperson.

Articulate WHY the cause is important

Be absolutely clear in your pitch on the problem. Addressing the issue for your cause can oftentimes be overlooked in speeches. This type of problem happens because presenters usually assume that the audience already holds some type of knowledge on the topic. Do not make this assumption. The best way to nullify this problem is to assume that every person is a novice to the topic. When you are actually presenting the problem, make sure you are able to provide an adequate amount of information of why this concept is important. People can sometimes overlook the importance of the cause which can then sway their decision when donation. Stress the whys and play on the emotional appeal.

Show They are an Asset

Involving the audience throughout your pitch is a great way to get your audience engaged in your idea. In addition, discussing what impact they can have through their donations is something that should always be mentioned in any speech. People want to know what they are donating to. Make sure they are aware of that.

Become a Master Storyteller

As stated before, you are a storyteller. It is your job to get the crowd hanging on every single word. This idea of connecting with the audience’s head and emotion will play to your strengths as a public speaker. Utilize your body language to provide that vibrant message. In addition, throughout your speech, know when to pause, when to stress, when to be excited, when to be sad, and when to be angry. It is these acting techniques and social awareness that will allow you to captivate a crowd with simply your words.

Know Your Crowd

This is the idea of leveraging your strengths. Make sure you do your homework on the group you are talking to. Often times, you are going to need to change your story for a particular group. While the story changes, the message is the same. To change the story, you need to know the audience you are speaking with. For example, the way you would talk to a corporate event versus fresh college graduates about donating to their university will be a completely different situation. Look more into the person or groups career progression and pinpoint certain topics that can heighten their awareness.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now you have all heard this phrase before. But at the end of the day, it makes sense. Practice does make perfect. The more times you say your pitch, the more times you get a chance to internalize it. Having a deeper understanding of your speech can make you aware of the strengths and weakness of the entire situation. In addition, once you are able to internalize your pitch, you will be able to manipulate and optimize your speech to the most effective manner.