Nurturing Relationships with Digital Storytelling

Nurturing Relationships with Digital Storytelling

Event experience expert and producer Joey Goon joined us to talk about how you can harness your event to deepen donor relationships with Digital Storytelling

Joey Goon is the president of Utopia Experience, a woman-founded, minority-owned event and video production company. Joey joined us to discuss one of his favorite topics: storytelling in the digital age, and how to tell your nonprofit’s story in a way that engages donors before, during, and after your event, and keeps them coming back!

The 3C Model for Effective Digital Storytelling

Joey introduced us to his “3C model,” which determines why someone chooses to attend your event:

  • Content (intellectual capital): People want to learn something new and gain something from their experience.
  • Connection (social capital): People want to build relationships and expand their networks, and develop genuine connections with others.
  • Community (communal capital): Community, and forming bonds with other people who care about the same things they do, is what keeps attendees coming back to your event year after year.

Unlock the heads and hearts of your community

Joey had yet another use for his “3C model,” for how to engage with donors and involve them in the event through digital storytelling.

  • Connect with guests before your event
  • Capture information during your event
  • Cultivate your donors after the event

Connect with guests before your event

Film an invitation video! If you have the ability to include the recipients or beneficiaries of your organization’s work, this is a great time to do it. Though videos do carry a cost with them to produce, it’s an evergreen asset that you can use anytime down the line.

TIP: Send out your video using the Greater Giving text functionality and embed the link to the video.

Build hype by using your own evangelists. Joey gave us an example of a school fundraising event where they took videos of the senior prom court for their invitation video. Each member of the court was made into a star, and shared their personal giving pages with their friends and family. It was a competition among them, and whoever raised the most received a gift!

At Your Event

It can be intimidating walking into a gala with 500 attendees without knowing anyone. When producing an event, it’s critical to make everyone feel safe and have a sense of belonging within the first thirty minutes of the event. Guests need to reach that point for you to truly access the power of your community and harness their fundraising potential.

At one event, Joey says, the organization offered a small guided tour of services they provide right at the entrance to their event, and put up displays all around the venue with information. They organized attendees into small groups, who then bonded while learning about the mission and the cause. Instant community!

Offer an exceptional arrival experience. Roll out the red carpet! Before your donors even make it to the ballroom, have volunteers there to greet them and help them get to where they need to go.

Engage donors in a way that isn’t about money. Instead, frame your interactions with donors around impact, and how their presence and activism makes a big difference in the cause.

Study your guest list thoroughly. Providing donors a personalized welcome is a huge step toward making them feel comfortable and excited about the event.

TIP: While post-event surveys rarely return a lot of results, surveying donors for their feedback during the event can be much more helpful! Try asking those donors about themselves, how long they’ve been with the organization, and get feedback on your event.

Develop community. Connect new donors with existing donors! Nearly 60% of first-time donors never give a second time, so don’t neglect them. Joey suggested an activity where existing and long-time donors are paired off with new donors to get them involved and deepen relationships.

Utilize cameras to create content

Joey presented an awesome idea for a red carpet video interview! He suggested using guests’ arrival as an opportunity not just to welcome them, but to make them feel special, engage them more deeply with the cause, and grab some content, too!

Set up a video camera and ask guests questions as they arrive. Not only does it relax them to get them talking, but then you can learn some great information about your attendees and repurpose it later into a thoughtful follow-up strategy.

Then you can pull sound bytes from your event and use it to make a great sizzle reel for future promotion.

Cultivate your donors after the event

Especially with first-time donors, the end of your event is the beginning of the relationship. Now it’s up to you to nurture and deepen that relationship to turn a new donor into a forever donor.

Joey offered some great tips for following up with donors and making sure they come back again with a personal touch.

  • Take selfies with new donors, and offer to visit with them personally after the event.
  • Handwritten thank-you cards are ideal! You could get all your volunteers together for a pizza party and knock all your thank-you letters out at once. Hand-written goes a long way.
  • Pull content from the event footage to make a lovely thank-you video!

When you send out your next email, don’t make it an ask for money. Show off how successful the event was with your sizzle reel, and show the impact that their donations made to help achieve your organization’s mission.

For more tips on “How to Make Your Event Unforgettable” watch the webinar recording.

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