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Every story has a hero. A hero represents an ideal that all is right in the world. When the hero arrives, we expect them do something smart, brave, or fearless. We believe that they are capable of anything. There is one tiny thing about heroes that we tend to forget. They don't need assistance from average people. And this is the very reason that the "nonprofit as the hero" falls flat when we tell fundraising stories.
The most typical story pitch I see while working with nonprofits goes like this: a person has a problem, the nonprofit helps this person with that problem, and then the person's life improves. This is a perfectly good story if the goal is simply to inform people what the organization does. But if we want people to roll up their sleeves and get involved then we have to do better.
The difference between the everyday superhero and your nonprofit is that you need assistance from other people. And the easiest way to inspire them to act is to show them why they are important. Let's face it, we all want to feel important. And that is why it's so difficult to push our nonprofit out of the limelight when we feel that we are doing such incredible work. We need to learn that the story isn't just about us.
So the next time you put together a fundraising story, step away from the same old story line. Let's give our donors the opportunity to connect with us like never before. Let's slap our cape on their shoulders and show them how to save the day.