Using the “Whole Brain” Approach to Maximize Nonprofit Fundraising

Social Solutions Blog

Using the “Whole Brain” Approach to Maximize Nonprofit Fundraising

Nonprofit fundraising is critical when creating an organization capable of powerful, impactful change. When donors are deciding on where their funding dollars should go, they want to hear about your impact and how your organization is directly affecting your constituents’ lives for the better. So, when you’re presenting this information to them, it’s essential to convey the information in a way that’s both accurate and easy to consume.

Nonprofits ready to meet their full fundraising potential should be employing creative, memorable, and compelling ways to mix stories and data. In order to do this, the information you’re collecting needs to be clear, concise, and most importantly, relevant to your mission. Using qualitative and quantitative information is the most effective way to make sure your nonprofit displays its full impact, especially while fundraising. When you do this, you’re able to appeal to emotion, but also back up your point with hard facts and data.

All too often, however, nonprofit fundraising appeals rely on either impressive stats or inspiring stories. They rarely take advantage of both together. Good data can prove service delivery, but misses that human appeal that client stories have. A story by itself is moving and can capture the emotional impact that you have on your constituents, but is hard to quantify. By only focusing on one or the other, fundraisers and nonprofits leave important dollars on the table and leaving their mission delivery lacking.

Learn more about how to combine storytelling with accurate data in our Free eBook: Combining Stories and Data to Better Prove Your Impact.

Nonprofit Fundraising: Story, Data, or Both?

A story-only appeal ignores the investment, left-brained, focused donors. An exclusively data-centered appeal negates the inspiring nature of social good and can alienate the more word inspired right-brained individuals. There needs to be a marriage between the two – a true whole brain effort – that lends itself to the potential of a 100% buy-in from your donors. When your donors buy into your organization, they are saying with their donations that they believe in your mission and your ability to impact the lives of your clients.

One of the best ways to combine storytelling and data is to lead with one and the complement it with another. For instance, start with the emotional connection that storytelling provides to hook the audience and follow that up with data that bolsters that story’s message. Conversely, you can display your service delivery data and then tell a story that confirms your findings on an individual level.

Utilizing the “whole brain” with fundraising is a sure way to get as much buy-in as possible with all your donors. Your entire audience will be able to understand and assess your data in various way and have a lasting impact. This will open your organization up to more funding, more reach to potential constituents, and a better service delivery.

In order to start maximizing your fundraising potential, start using the whole brain to capture your entire audience. You will be able to tell those emotional, inspirational stories, but you can also use data to support your cause as well.

Appealing to both left- and right-brain thinkers promotes better conversations with board members, stakeholders, and the community and of course, results in much better nonprofit fundraising. Because everyone is able to process the information you’re providing them in their own way, you are maximizing the potential of receiving 100% buy-in from your donors. You’ll be able to prove your impact and effectiveness and gain funding dollars to deliver more mission.

If you’d like to learn more, you can read the previous blog post in this series, or download a free copy of our “Whole Brain” fundraising eBook below.

Read our Free Fundraising eBook

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