Storytelling for Crowdfunding Campaigns: 5 Tips to Boost Your Success
Ask any fundraising expert, and they’ll tell you that a successful campaign needs a story. You can use your story for the description on your fundraising page or as the opening to your donation requests.
Storytelling puts the reader knee-deep in the challenges your organization hopes to solve and entices them to act.
While storytelling is an effective component of any fundraiser, it’s especially important for crowdfunding campaigns because you only have a limited amount of time to encourage people to support your cause.
You might be aware that the goal of a strong narrative is to:
- Tie the reader to your cause by speaking to their passions and values.
- Help potential supporters visualize the impact their donation will have.
- Illustrate what your mission hopes to achieve.
That’s a lot to explain when addressing potential donors. Luckily, you can capture all of this (and more!) in your crowdfunding story.
With the following storytelling tips, you can write a captivating story:
- Start your story with an introduction.
- Mention the challenge and offer your solution.
- Provide a specific example for your story.
- Keep your story short and concise.
- End with a call-to-action.
Keep reading to learn how to craft your crowdfunding story.
It goes without question that starting your story is one of the hardest steps. You could spend hours trying to craft the perfect first sentence, but it doesn’t need to be that complicated.
In fact, long openings can distract readers and make them lose sight of what’s important: supporting your cause.
Start your story by simply introducing yourself and explaining your relationship with the cause or organization. Let’s look at an example to help you understand:
Just in the first three sentences, you already know the campaign creator’s connection to the Ring the Bell campaign and why she is so passionate about this cause.
You can even simplify your introduction further with one sentence: “My name is [your name], and I’m looking to raise funds for [explain your situation and why you’re raising money].
The point is to provide donors with some context (aka your connection to campaign) to give people a reason to continue reading your story. When donors see your reasons for supporting your cause, they’ll see that you’re passionate about this project, and your passion may be the factor that persuades someone to give.
Plus, opening your story with an introduction makes it easy for you to transition into the core of your story and jump right into your mission.
➡ In summary, a simple introduction is the best way to start your story. When donors have a better understanding of how you fit into the story, they’ll be more invested in what you have to say.
Every compelling story needs conflict. In other words, your story won’t be complete without addressing the challenges your project hopes to solve.
By mentioning the problems in your story, you can convey how serious these issues are to the communities, people, or animals you serve. It will also help donors understand why your project is necessary.
While your story isn’t the place to list multiple statistics or write in-depth descriptions (you can always direct people to your website for more information), you do need to give readers some background.
The critical points to hit in your story are:
- The problems your campaign hopes to resolve and those affected.
- The impact on the affected people and communities if a solution isn’t found.
- Why finding or implementing a solution is important.
By addressing those components, you’ll give donors enough background so that you can introduce your solution.
You should explain what you seek to achieve and why your solution is the best way to approach the problems you’ve mentioned. You should also let donors know how the money you raise from your campaign will go toward this solution.
Since all causes will have a problem and solution, you need focus on what makes your mission unique. You can achieve this by focusing on specific stories, which we’ll talk more about later, to build emotion and interest in your cause.
➡ In summary, your readers need to understand the problems your cause seeks to address if you want them to see your solution as important and the best possible option.
It’s difficult to persuade readers to support your cause without speaking to their emotions. If your story just covers generalizations, potential donors to won’t feel passionate about your cause and might lose interest.
With a specific example, readers can connect with the character(s), so to speak, and have a real-life example of your organization in action.
Think about it this way: Imagine that you’re raising funds to expand your community’s animal shelter. In your story, you mention Fido, an underweight dog who you recently rescued. You explain how he was nervous around humans at first, but the patient caretakers worked to get him more comfortable. And thanks to generous donations, he has enough food to get to a healthy weight.
Do you see how a specific example connects the readers to your cause? Fido’s story will have much more impact on potential donors than just stating that the animal shelter helps rehabilitate stray dogs.
Plus, potential donors have a chance to see how their contribution will affect those you serve.
To make your story even more captivating, you can supplement your example with images or videos of your team in action so that donors can get fully immersed in your narrative.
➡ In summary, your story should be focused on one specific situation to make your story feel personal and convey the impact that your donors’ support will have.
It’s easy to get caught in the narrative and forget to be conscious of your reader’s time. Your story should get to the point quick so donors don’t lose focus.
Additionally, looking at a big block of text can overwhelm potential donors and deter them from giving.
If you’re using your story for your crowdfunding description, we recommend keeping it around 300-700 words.
Here are a few best practices you can use to shorten your story:
- Avoid writing wordy descriptions – Keep your language concise, and make sure that every word, sentence, and paragraph has a purpose.
- Focus on the information that is most important for the reader – Not every detail about your organization or cause needs to be mentioned in your story. If you want to give donors more information, link to your website.
- Add images – Images can help you get your message across without eating up your word count. Just be careful not to rely on them too much.
- Break up your story into smaller paragraphs – While this won’t actually shorten the length of your story, it will make your story easier to scan so donors can get the gist of your message.
- Convey your story in video format – You may find that your story works better as a video. In fact, a well-filmed video can engage donors and compel them to take action. Just remember to keep it short (2-3 minutes works best).
Of course, every story will be different, so use your best judgement on whether or not your story is too long. Ask your peers or team members to read your story, as they can spot areas that might need less explanation.
➡ In summary, you can still pack a lot of information into a short story. Just be strategic about what you include and how you present your information.
Ultimately, the goal of your story is to get people to donate to your crowdfunding campaign. That’s why the end of your narrative should excite your donors and motivate them to act.
It’s best to be direct with your readers so they know exactly what you want them to do. Instead of ending your story wishing for donors to support your cause, give donors specifics.
Finish your story by asking donors to:
- Make a donation — You can get even more exact and request a specific amount.
- Share your campaign with their peers — You’ll reach more donors, and your supporters have another way to help your cause.
- Attend an event — If you’re ending your campaign with an event, encourage donors to attend whether they’ve contributed or not.
- Sign up for a newsletter or follow you on social media — You want to keep up your relationships with your donors. By encouraging them to follow you on social media or sign up for a newsletter, you can continue to interact with donors.
Having a strong story is important, but if you leave supporters guessing what they’re supposed to do next, they may not complete the action you want them to.
Give potential donors clear next steps so there is no guess-work involved. Even if you’re placing your story on your crowdfunding page, you should still let donors know that the end goal — making a donation — is still what you want supporters to do.
➡ In summary, you never want to tell your story and excite your donors without giving them a place to direct their support. Openly ask supporters to contribute to your cause. The end of your story should not only compel people to act but also lead them in the right direction.
Hopefully, these tips will help you create a captivating story for your crowdfunding campaign.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating a successful crowdfunding campaign, check out the following additional resources:
- Crowdfunding 101. Before you start a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to know the basics. Get started with our guide!
- Tips for Crowdfunding Photos. It’s common to add photos to stories as a way to further illustrate your cause. Learn how to take photos for your campaign.
- Share Your Crowdfunding Campaign. Now that you’ve written this great story, it’s time to learn how to share your cause with your supporters.