Giving (with feeling!)

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:

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An award-winning expert on nonprofit communications and creativity, Dawn is ready to speak at your next gathering. 

Kate Runy


A passionate technical wizard, Kate thrives on managing online content, social media for communications, and development projects.  Kate is the workhorse of the team, pulling out amazing feats of content creation and management week in and week out. 

Prior to joining BC/DC Ideas, Kate coordinated website and social media content, communications, and advertising for Go Global NC and Alzheimer’s NC.

Things that make her happy: I love animals about as much as I love working for nonprofits.

Mishel Gomez Cespedes


Mishel brings a passion for video storytelling and quippy social media content to the team.  At BC/DC Ideas, she is most likely editing video or scheduling the next moving social media post for our clients.

Her ear for storytelling is her greatest asset. Mishel has a unique ability to assemble content into a concise story that moves audiences to action.

A graduate of Wake Forest University she spent a semester in Spain and years serving her community through the campus organizations. Now, she is putting her passion for good to work.

Brian Crawford

creative director

Mix equal parts nerd and creativity and that’s Brian. A natural problem-solver, Brian’s ability to cut to the core of any problem helps guide our creative team to the correct solution without wasted time or money. It’s the core, this little nugget of truth, that helps our clients take the next step with their audiences.

Brian gets the greatest joy out of helping our clients realize and connect with their story. He is a true believer that everyone and every organization has a compelling story to tell, you just have to listen with an open heart.

Things that make him happy: Hanging out at the park with family, toddler-speak, hitting the focus pull, and good coffee.

Dawn Crawford


The engine behind BC/DC Ideas, Dawn has dedicated her career to good. Dawn brings her considerable experience and expertise to helping elevate the nonprofit sector. Our team’s lead strategist, Dawn is often seen leading our IdeaStorms, penning communications plans, or checking in with clients.

Before launching BC/DC Ideas in 2010, she earned her chops in 10+ years of communications leadership roles for public health, healthcare and youth-focused nonprofits. Working for nonprofits is Dawn’s dream job, and she loves that her 40+ hours a week make the world a better place.

Things that make her happy: A glass of champagne to celebrate big wins, Basecamp, living in the South, seeing the world, and a well-formatted spreadsheet.