Giving (with feeling!)


“When you use stories and images to communicate, you are speaking directly to the part of the brain that controls emotions, trust, decision-making and action-taking. These largely unconscious processes are the primary drivers of action (donating, volunteering, joining, clicking).”

If you’re relying on reason to attract donations, you haven’t used every item in the fundraising tool box. The magic that encourages giving happens where you aren’t expecting to find it. To execute a successful giving campaign, appeal to the audience with feeling, as well as reason.

Author John Haydon states:

“No matter how many facts you throw at someone to support your cause, and no matter how strongly listeners may agree – you still haven’t adequately appealed to the portion of their brain that is making the decision to support your organization monetarily. Emotions are what compel people to give.”

And there is even a nugget of science to back up these claims. Neuromarketing has discovered that 95 percent of all thoughts, emotions and learning occur before we are ever aware of it, which asserts most of our marketing strategies are only connecting with five percent of a potential customer’s brain!

So how exactly do you optimize engagement when unconscious minds are making most of the decisions? How do you maximize the potential of your fundraising efforts?

Story-telling. One of the easiest ways to accomplish the task of appealing to donors’ emotions is through weaving a story that effectively delivers your fundraising message while keeping hold of your audiences’ attention.

Here are your five steps to telling your story like a nonprofit rockstar.

  1. You need a hero– Not you, silly – your donor!
  2. You need a goal– You need to understand where your donating hero is, where they want to go and what they want to accomplish.
  3. You need an obstacle– Clarify the problem that needs solving.
  4. You need a mentor– That’s where you come in; your organization is the guide that makes it possible for the donor to accomplish their personal goal.
  5. You need a moral– What’s the purpose? How does your organization make a difference, and allow heroes like your donor to accomplish their goals? Be clear.

Go beyond facts to make your customers feel an emotion tied to your fundraising pitch.  Powerful, memorable emotional appeals will likely lead to more engagement opportunities, which may just lead to successful, long-term connections and clients.

No matter what tone your fundraising campaign takes, or how you deliver the story, it is important to remember that giving is good for givers. By raising funds for your organization, you are not only furthering your organization’s mission, you’re also bolstering the lives and outlooks of those supporting you.

Now that’s a deal!


Our creative team of rockstars loves weaving amazing stories for the good of our nonprofit clients, but we also provide them with the tools to continue beyond the scope of a project. For more on the nonprofit tools we provide our clients, explore some of our work:

Author BrianCrawford

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