Fundraising for nonprofits is all about telling a story. But how do you know if you are doing it well? Here are some tips:

Clearly articulate your vision

How will potential donors understand your mission unless you clearly tell them? Develop a simple and specific summary of what your organization does to make a difference in the world. Don’t be vague. Don’t beat around the bush. Get input from multiple sources, including people outside your organization, to see if their understanding of your mission aligns with reality.  If it is off base you need to adjust your messaging to better communicate your vision and mission.

Show your shared values

Your story must connect the donor directly with the results your charity provides. Don’t simply tell them what you do, but rather, draw them into a deeper and more meaningful connection to the lives being changed. If donors perceive your organization as having a distant or unclear focus, it is more difficult to make a connection with them. 

Demonstrate the change you want to happen

Provide the concrete solutions to the problem: “This is how it is right now, and here’s exactly how we want to change that.” Example: if the problem is illiteracy, instead of having a vague solution such as “we want to give out free books and have tutoring,” a more concrete solution would be “we want to set up tutoring programs in 10 communities and provide free books to 100 families in the next year.”

Tell how they can help

When there is a concrete solution to the problem, the donor can better see how they are a part of that solution, and are more likely to give. Give them numbers- for example, if they give $20, that will provide three books to a needy family, or one hour of tutoring. But also give them stories – i.e. Tasha was a mom who was struggling to find a job, but thanks to our tutoring program, she improved her literacy skills and was able to get a job that enables her to provide for her family.

Remember that your donors are human beings, and not just ATM machines. To ensure their ongoing support, you need to appeal to their emotions, maintain connections, and express gratitude to them for taking part in your organization’s mission.