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This last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Urban Summit at Mercycorps.  

My topic was potentially dry. Enewsletters. Bah. What can you say about those?

Luckily, I had something in my back pocket that made everyone sit up and take notice.

What was it?

My story.

You see, in 2009 I was basically destitute. I was sleeping on the floor, living on spaghetti. Then my credit card number got stolen and the thief bought $500 worth of iTunes, and my bank account got overdrawn.

How did I get out of this situation?

I started blogging, creating partnerships, and communicating with the people reading my blog. And one of the best ways I found to communicate was e-newsletters. In newsletters could remind them that I had things of value to share.

Then what happened?

When I told my story, my audience sat up and took notice. A few of them were living on spaghetti too. They came up to me afterwards and told me how much my story meant to them.

If it’s been awhile since you communicated with your donors, and awhile since you asked, here’s how you jumpstart their hearts.

1. Start by communicating once a week with your most loyal donors. You can use personalized emails as a place to start. Ask them what draws them to your mission. Ask them what they like most out of all of your programs.

Listen to them, and share your own story. Your story makes you stand out.

Your story makes you memorable in all of the noise in their lives.

2. Then ask them to coffee. Get them on the phone. Keep your ears open and write down the story.

3. Then share your appreciation for them in writing. How about an email or hand-written thank you postcard? Reference their story.

When you connect with your donor’s story, and share your own, you will open their hearts, and they will want to give to you.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours?

Did you know that Vanessa Chase specializes in nonprofit storytelling? It’s true. Her website is The Storytelling Nonprofit. Check her writing out! Her articles can help you tell your story better! 🙂

What about keeping your mid-range donors? Why would you want to do that? Your $100-$500 donors? Your forgotten donors?

Check out this new e-book edited by Roger Craver of the Agitator on how to keep your mid-level donors.