Looking at the title to my blog post, you might be wondering about the rationale behind such blasphemous words. Let me try to explain.
When it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of your donors during a particular fundraising campaign, stories do indeed reign supreme. We are all of us wired for a good story. That’s why you can often find us glued to the television (or sometimes mobile device) watching our favourite TV shows or movies. Reality provides more than enough story fodder as well. Local and remote emergencies, urgent needs at a hospital, international development, mental health, etc. There’s no question that when any one of my talented storytelling colleagues in the world of fundraising crafts a story, there’s a much better chance that you’ll succeed at winning donors.
All that being said – you don’t know for sure what is going to work until it does or it doesn’t. The same story might not get sent to everyone. Or the same letter package components don’t get sent to everyone. Perhaps some people get an email and others don’t. Perhaps there’s a special ask for one segment of your donors that other donors don’t get. Perhaps donors in one geographical location just aren’t going to respond as well. Maybe new donors will respond especially well and lapsed donors especially poorly. All of these are just scenarios that I can think of off the top of my head. There are bound to be so many more.
The point is that your north star, if you want it to be, is the data you keep on the donors and donations that come in response to your fundraising campaigns. Knowing what succeeded, with who, and when, is more important than any single story.