Year-end giving: How to tell a story without a lead character


Once the craziness of the work year subsides, you’re likely to see a bit of a mind shift – a positive one. That’s when people move into a more relaxed approach, one where they’re more open to year-end giving campaigns.


That’s a great opportunity for non-profits. But it requires a bit of planning on the part of the non-profit, to pull together a donor appeal or a ‘green gift’ option.

Whatever donor opportunity you develop, there’s one constant that should be worked into any campaign: the need to tell a really strong story – one that will capture the imagination of your audience.

It involves setting up your ‘protagonist’, and of course the enormous challenges that lie ahead for this character. It then becomes a story of victory in the face of almost unassailable obstacles.

Who doesn’t like a story like that?

But what if your protagonist doesn’t have a face?


Like a vegetation type? How do you capture those very human emotions into the story of a plant or a tree?

According to the fundraising experts, it’s a good idea to place a ‘face’ in your vegetation type. For example, who would benefit from a healthy landscape? Perhaps those who harvest the product? Or what about those whose livestock depend on it? What about the farmer whose land becomes more productive as a result of the action?

These characters face a challenge – their very livelihoods are threatened should a vegetation type be picked unsustainably. And because you have ‘humanised’ your adventure, there’s a tangible emotion your audience can potentially connect with.


Remember to set up your work within the non-profit as the solution to the challenge – the reason your character can remain overcome this challenge.

And of course, every story needs a hero! In this case, your hero is your donor – those who give to allow the characters to be victorious. These heroes of course deserve due praise for their support – an essential element to work into your campaign.

Good luck with your year-end giving campaigns – and of course telling your unique stories.

Heather is our content writer and master wordsmith. She enjoys helping our clients formulate their message and running her way across beautiful mountains, exploring new places and is always ready for an adventure.

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