People often volunteer with charities because they’ve been personally affected by the issue. They may be living with or have survived through a debilitating condition or a traumatic situation and want to help support others going through the same thing, or they may want to honour the memory of a friend or family member by supporting a related cause.
Every person with a personal experience of your cause will have a story to tell, whether it’s a story of great personal tragedy or an inspirational story of hope. These personal stories can bring great benefits when used sensitively and appropriately, and can take a number of forms:
- a story and related discussions in an online forum
- a help & advice section on your website
- a personal blog or video blog
- interviews in a campaign video
- a personal plea from a beneficiary sent out in an email newsletter.
Remember that people care about people (or animals, or the environment), not faceless organisations. Personal stories help place your work in the context of their own lives. Highlight how you have helped your beneficiaries, how their lives are different now and why it’s important you continue your good work.
It Gets Better is project built purely around personal stories, helping LGBT youth imagine what it might be like to become openly gay adults and how their lives won’t always be as bad as they imagine it is now.
When thanking a donor, tell them how their money will be spent and the difference they’re making to someone’s life. Consider asking actual beneficiaries to write thank you letters detailing how the donation will make a personal difference to them or other people like them.