6 Steps to Writing a Compelling Fundraising Story

The individual donor:nonprofit relationship is emotion based. Supporters consciously choose your organization to make their tax-deductible gift from the myriad of choices because your mission matches their value system. 


This is different from the subscriber:publication relationship which is fee for service. Sure, there can be an emotional connection, but the individual is also receiving something – access to your publication or additional features – which are generally not included in the individual donor:nonprofit relationship.  


Let’s say your publication needs community support to hire a reporter to cover city hall. Here are 6 easy to implement steps with italic examples to craft an engaging story so individual donors feel included and that they are part of an important cause – your nonprofit. 

  • Begin with a statement or rhetorical question which leads the reader to an agreeable frame of mind to think “Yes, absolutely” or “I understand the point.” Create a positive mood and buy-in right from the start so the individual wants to learn more. 

We all want to hold our elected officials accountable for keeping campaign promises and using our tax dollars wisely.  


  • Clearly state the problem you are trying to solve and connect it to the reader. 

Yet without a dedicated reporter, our community has not been kept informed of meetings, activities and actions taken by our city council, opening the door for corruption. They receive insufficient press coverage, which leaves us in the dark. 


  • Describe your solution in detail and increase emotional connection. 

We want to change that and bring light to city council actions by hiring a full-time reporter. This individual will be local, understand our community, and cover public meetings yet dig deep to provide the in-depth reporting you deserve. 


  • Identify the gap between the problem and solution, beyond just funding. Build emotional engagement by sharing what you need to solve the problem/roadblocks and how your publication will achieve the solution/how funds will be used. 

For years our community hasn’t had a reporter dedicated to covering city hall, and this insufficient press coverage leads to a lack of accountability. Your generous donation to help cover our reporter’s salary will remedy this problem and increase city hall transparency – keeping our elected officials accountable to you. 


  • Describe how the donor becomes part of the story and is the s/hero. 

With your help, our community will stay informed of city council meetings and actions, lobbyist activities, tax-dollar expenditures, upcoming votes and events, and more. Together, we can achieve this goal. 


  • Conclude your story with a Call to Action, and expand the emotional investment to include a financial investment. 

We ask that you make your tax-deductible donation and be as generous as possible. With your gift, we will make a powerful difference in our local government and community. 

We also ask that you let your friends, family, and colleagues know of our fundraising efforts via social media, email and word-of-mouth. 

Thank you. 


Now that you have secured this gift, be sure to keep your donors engaged. Nurture the relationship and inform them of upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and most importantly, how their donations came to fruition by introducing your new hire and publishing extensive coverage of city hall.