Remember listening to stories from your grandmother as a child? Surely, listening to stories must be the most exciting part of your day!
But what if I say, stories hold the power to engage adults equally? Good stories can catch your attention, the best ones can create ripples that spark movements.
With stories, you are not just stating the facts in blatant sentences, but rather painting a picture with words! Stories ignite emotions and imagination; something that bullet points and paragraphs of long text wouldn’t!
Here’s how to tap into email marketing for non-profit campaigns just right!
The power of storytelling
Storytelling allows you to go beyond PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, and docs. Stories weave experiences, struggles, and triumphs and are a powerful tool for connection and authenticity. Whether your goal is to engage donors, persuade them to invest money or time, or have them come back for further engagement, stories can be a boon for non-profit campaigns.
Stories help non-profit campaigns to educate their readers about their cause, capture their attention, and get them inspired for more action. This can help you with your desired outcome. This can be asking your audience to take action, ask for grants, support, donations, media attention, volunteer, or simply spread the word.
How to do it? More on that in the points to follow!
How do stories help small non-profit campaigns?
Make the campaign donor-based and mission-based
When considering a story to tell, it’s better to be intentional about your stories and how you choose to tell them. You can consider the following points:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- How do you wish to persuade your audience?
- How does the story help you with your goal?
- How does your audience spend their money?
- How much do they usually donate?
You can gather the answers to the above questions through surveys, segmentation, research, and communicating with donors. All these factors deepen donor engagement. Stories that empower donors connect them and their cause. These stories show your value, mission, and your unique approach to tackling social problems.
Moreover, it also showcases your strengths, successes, and the human element behind your endeavors. You can also move the story accordingly to create urgency and significance for your mission.
Be genuine and authentic
Non-profit campaigns thrive on trust, and nothing can build trust except for demonstrating authenticity and being genuine! A key step to do this is to share genuine stories and approaches that showcase the impact and mission.
Likewise, it is best to refrain from misleading narratives, hyperbole, oversimplifying, generalizing, distorting facts, misrepresentations, or exaggerations to create hype. When looking to build long-lasting relations with your audience, it is crucial to maintain accuracy and integrity.
If the story doesn’t stir emotions, is it a story? Once you tell a story you activate the reader’s empathy, and that is how you build connections between ideas and actions. Emotions come alive with stories, and such stories stick in people’s minds and hearts.
While it is a good practice to convey facts and statistics to build credibility, stories can translate facts into feelings. These feelings include invoking a sense of joy, awe, urgency, or despair.
Stories can also unite the readers under a common goal, and also form bonds. This can give rise to a feeling of belonging to a community.
Showcase a clear conflict or a problem
You can begin the story with a clear conflict or a problem. This approach allows you to initially talk about a problem that pushes the story forward. Further, this allows the story to move towards transformation and impact. This will lead your audiences to get invested in conflict resolution.
Besides the above approach, you begin with showcasing happy outcomes, and then talking about the current harsh reality.
Eventually, you can finish the story with how the solution has changed a life with a compelling call to action.
Clarify your message
Heard of a story with jumbled narratives and the spoilers revealed first? Not only does it fall flat, but it also defeats the purpose. However, that’s not something that you can afford to do with your non-profit campaigns! As with other mediums of communication, ensure being clear, concise, and meaningful, when conveying a story.
For further impact, use vivid, powerful statements, and gripping language, while avoiding jargon that is likely to confuse your audience.
Polish the tonality to make the story feel like a human conversation. A clear message leads to giving the audience a strong understanding of your work. You can also do this by building a strong structure, narrative, or a simple system to arrange the information for the email copy.
Create a relatable character
Build the story around a central character and their experience which gives your audience something to identify and relate to.
Use a relatable and inspiring character to create a compelling protagonist. A strong connection with the character is likely to humanize the cause.
Along with bringing the story to life, it also allows the audience to understand their challenges. Besides being a single human, a character can also be an organization, a family, a community, an association, a school, or even a species.
Build credibility and transparency
Use your story to define what makes your organization different, and how your work creates an impact. Endorsements by credible people and showcasing your organization’s success can build strong credibility. Further, User Generated Content (UGC) is also a great way to build credibility and cause word of mouth to spread.
Transparency shows that you are open and willing to showcase the beautiful and the difficult parts of the journey. This builds trust among donors, cementing the belief that their contributions can genuinely make a difference.
Further, being transparent about your record and what the donations have been used for, also creates much-needed transparency.
A great practice is to share real-life success stories. However, also maintain the privacy of those who wish to tell you their story, by seeking their permission before putting out the word in front of the world. To communicate the success story, add a photo of the person or a crisp video testimonial that can enhance engagement.
You surely must have heard of – Show, don’t tell! While I wouldn’t ask you to refrain from telling, showing your audience what you really mean is an excellent way of tugging at their heartstrings. I am not just making claims; here’s a study that proves the same.
As per Campaign Monitor, 36% of donors are likely to give if they have heard stories or seen photos. The continuous influx of information has made visuals drive a promising impact for non-profit drip campaigns.
Besides being appealing, visuals have a plethora of benefits. It makes the information and the message to be easily retainable while boosting engagement. You can integrate visuals by creating infographics to convey numbers and heaps of data easily. This can be done with charts, maps, and others. With stories that unravel over a long period, you can also use clocks or timelines to visualize the data in your email design. This allows the information to be put across in an organized manner in distinct sections while making it easy to read.
A powerful CTA
Though your audience is now inspired, they might need help figuring out what to do to make a difference. CTAs give your audience a direction that they can head in. To do so, create clear steps and direct them to what they should do so that your audience doesn’t get lost in the process.
If you are leading the audience to a page, make the page contents easy to navigate. Besides being action-oriented, the CTA must align with your organization’s mission and goal. Here are some of the examples of a promising CTA:
Wouldn’t you agree that attention spans are getting shorter by the day? How would you do it all – get their attention, have them read your message till the end, engage, and then convert? When all else fails, stories have the power to make your content more human and meaningful. Then why not tap into the infinite power of emotionally engaging your audience in a cause that can make a positive difference in the world?
I understand that a lot goes into creating a campaign, but what if it simply falls flat? Worry not! We’ve got Icegram Express to ensure that while you juggle all the balls, none fall!
With engagement tracking and detailed campaign reports, we are backing your campaigns with the much-needed insights to drive change!