3 Storytelling Hacks for Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Ah, Storytelling.

An ancient art that has existed longer than writing, and one that will undoubtedly outlast the internet and everything that feels familiar to us today.

We’ve been hearing and telling stories our whole lives, so why does it seem so challenging to craft a good one that people are compelled to retell?

Truth is, you can have all of the beautiful visual content and smart hashtags in the world, but when it comes to moving people to action when your campaign launches, you have to know how to tell a story that will resonate with your audience.


1. Set the perspective

Stephen King may be a horror novelist far removed from your crowdfunding campaign, but there is one piece of advice that has stayed with me since I first read his nonfiction book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

King writes, “I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”

Your crowdfunding campaign is an event. Maybe you are raising funding for a scholarship, or for a production, or for a service learning trip. No doubt, these are all events, so it is up to you to bring them to life through the art of storytelling.

So tell a compelling story about your campaign through the eyes of a person (or people) who has been or will be affected by the initiative, keeping in mind that people are more generous when they see their gift as a contribution to a specific person under hardship.

For a great example of short storytelling that is powerful and engaging, check out Humans of New York – and consider how you might tell similar short stories in emails and woven into your outreach strategy.


2. “And, but, therefore…”

Have you ever heard somebody tell a story who used the “and then” phrase liberally and unapologetically? “And then this happened… and then that happened… and then, and then, and then…”

I’ve been there – in fact, I’ve probably told a story or two like that. In retrospect, I wonder if my friends were eyeing the nearest exits or attempting to telepathically signal to their phone to please go off.

Hindsight’s 20/20.

Recently, USEED had the honor of joining Park Howell – brand storytelling expert – in learning more about the craft. One of the biggest takeaways (as well as one of the easiest to implement) was this: “And, but, therefore…”

And for context and set-up.

But for conflict.

Therefore for resolution.

I used to tell stories and thought they were interesting, but then I learned that people were telepathically signaling their phones because they were so bored. Therefore, I joined Park Howell in a workshop and learned how to be a better storyteller by using “and, but, therefore…” in my own stories.

How can you use this strategy for your campaign’s story? Try it out and see how it comes to life!


3. Continue your story

Don’t let your story end when your campaign does.

Continue to tell it.

Steward your donors and keep them interested by extending the stories that captivated them in the first place. One of the best ways to do this is through thoughtfully crafted emails after your crowdfunding campaign has ended. If you are able to continue developing and sharing the story (or stories) throughout the year, you will likely keep the donor engaged for your next round of giving.

Don’t close the book on your biggest tool for engagement.

And don’t underestimate the power of storytelling.


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