Writing Your Story

When writing your story, you want to make sure that the story you're telling is authentic, emotional, and easy to understand. 

You can achieve this by centering your story around a specific person, place, animal, or thing. Support your story with data, by highlighting the specific impact your donors can have in dollars and cents. This approach takes you from talking at a high-level to a more detailed iconic story. 

When you highlight the specific impact your donors can make, your ask goes beyond just what your mission aims to achieve. Your donors are not just supporting sanctuary animals (like in example one); they are buying the food, medicine, shelter, and more, to care for each and every animal there. By framing your story in this way, your donors feel like they are making a true difference and know the direct impact they can make on your organization. 

Once you have your story, you'll want to end with an inspiring ask.

How to Make an Inspiring Ask

To make an inspiring ask, you'll want to focus on three statements: the Belief, the You, and the Opportunity statements:

  • Belief Statement: “We believe that…”
  • You Statement: “You can help us…”
  • Opportunity Statement: “Are you with us?” or “Will you join us?” 

Example 1

High Level Story
Offset the costs of new rescue animals we just adopted.

Iconic StoryWhat do you call a gang of shaggy quadrupeds led by a goat who looks like an okapi and a horned ewe who looks like a cross between a  raccoon and a panda? We call them the Green Mountain Mix Mob, and we need your help in welcoming to VINE Sanctuary

These four goats and five sheep were seized by authorities due to extreme neglect, including starvation, from a household where they had been used for wool and milk. They then spent about a year in foster placement, where they were adequately fed but received only the veterinary care usually accorded to “farm animals” (e.g., no medication for arthritis pain), as their case worked its way through the court system. Once the case concluded with a conviction, they were free to come to the sanctuary. 

Help us welcome these goats and sheep, who have been through so much, to the sanctuary. All told, we expect the Green Mountain Mob to add at least $5,000 to our annual expenditures, but right now we are looking for $900 to offset our costs in transporting them to the sanctuary, pay for their initial veterinary exams, and buy their first month’s worth of hay, grains, and supplemental minerals. Thank you in advance for your generosity toward these courageous animals, who have maintained their compassion for others despite the deprivations they have endured. 

Example 2

High Level Story
General fund or annual appeal for a conversation focused organization.

Iconic Story
If your child attended an after school program or summer camp, if your teen spent the summer on a NorthWoods Conservation Corps crew, if you worked with a licensed NorthWoods forester to carefully manage your woodlot, or if you enjoyed any of the Northeast Kingdom’s many scenic hiking trails, then you share with us our mission of connecting people with nature. Your involvement is critical to the success of our mission. 

Thank you for your commitment and support.

The challenges that threaten our environment often seem endless and overwhelming: climate change, encroaching development pressures, water pollution, and problems with invasive species to name but a few. NorthWoods meets these challenges every day. Over the past year we have worked with concerned landowners to plant acres of trees to buffer waterways, introduced thousands of children to the wonders and workings of nature, expanded conservation jobs and training for teens in five New England states, and helped many landowners manage their forests effectively and sustainably.

We will continue to meet these challenges, but we need YOUR generous support.

Our collective power for change is much greater than the threats we face. It is in this spirit that a committed friend has offered to match all contributions up to $15,000 to support the work of the NorthWoods Stewardship Center. For our new friends who are considering a first-time gift, this is perfect timing. Every donation is doubled!

Please consider making your generous gift now, so we can continue our journey towards an environmental future of sustainability, education, and science.

Your Cover Photo and Video

The Cover Photo

Your cover photo should be a large, horizontal image, at least 1500 pixels by 500 pixels, but no larger than 5MB. 

The cover photo should illustrate your story. If you're talking about example 1, a picture of the Green Mountain Mix Mob would be a great addition. If example 2, an image of conservationists doing their work would illustrate the story well. 

The best images also avoid close-ups and anything with words on it. The mobile responsive design that GiveGab uses to ensure your giving day profile looks great on smartphones and tablets can cut off text and make close ups even closer! 

Example 1

Example 2

Your Campaign Video

Your giving day video is optional, but if you choose to create one, it's a great way to illustrate your story even more! Remember these few tips if you're creating a video:

  • Keep it short. People tend to lose interest after 60 seconds, so keep it to a minute or less!
  • Keep it relevant. Tell the story of why you're fundraising, not the story of your organization.
  • Keep it authentic. Try to include those benefitting from your giving day.

Remember, you'll need to upload your video to Vimeo or YouTube before 

Goal Setting

Your Fundraising Goal should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound). Your Giving Day profile asks you to have a Specific dollar amount listed, and will report on your progress to show how you Measure up against your goal, so all you need to worry about is creating an Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound goal. 

When creating a goal, think about your overall campaign. Why are you raising money? How can your goal tie into your story? What non-monetary goals are you trying to achieve?

If you don't want to set a monetary goal and want to focus on the number of donors, new social media followers, or something else you can measure, go for it! Make sure you add it to the "Tell Your Story" section so everyone knows what you're aiming for. 

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