Let Your Students Tell the Story to Inspire Donors
|Vol. 10 No. 8|
Katya Andresen, Chief Strategy Officer for the online donation-collection conduit Network For Good, shared in her blog “The Six Things I Wish I’d Known 20 Years Ago.” One of those things was:
What I wish I had also known about communications: Nothing beats a good story about one person. (Including a good story about two, 20 or 20,000 people.) Research is clear: if we want to spark someone’s empathy and inspire a donation, we must tell the story of our cause through one person (or animal). We must give our mission a pulse and save the abstractions and statistics for another day.
Good storytelling is one of the essential routes to winning the support of your donors and prospects. While your school’s families are emotionally attached to your school—after all, they are entrusting their children’s education to you—the greater community may only see the building, the athletic fields, the car lines. You need to get the prospect emotionally attached to your mission. As Katya says, “give your mission a pulse.”
Your stories lie in your students’ journeys during their time with your school. Your Admission, Marketing/Communication, and Development officers, working together, can use those stories to build your school’s case for support and build a sense of community both internally and in the greater community.
The job of the Admission office is to build and nurture relationships with prospective families. Your Development office does the same with donors and prospective donors. Your Marketing/Communication office collaborates with both to coordinate the message of the mission and help convey it to the greater community. While the functions of the three departments are different, all three should be on the same page, strengthening your message of how your school impacts the lives of its students. And all three need to understand the emotional ties of that message to their constituents.
How you convey the message is also key. “Messengers matter,” says Katya. “We’re in an era where faith in traditional spokespeople and marketers is at a historic low. That means we’re best off with messengers other than ourselves.”
Using the experiences of your students to connect your constituents’ passions to your mission lets the students tell the story and inspire the donation.
Bring your Admission, Development, and Marketing/Communication team to the 2013 ISM Advancement Academy, July 22-26, in Stowe, VT. You will learn key ISM advancement theory and work with a mentor who will guide you though an individual learning track. You will return to your school with a written plan—and the opportunity to earn the International Advancement Certification. Come with your team, and you can develop your plan together! Seating is limited—register today at isminc.com/academy.
Additional ISM resources of interest