In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar says:

Each year over 5 million quarter-inch drills are sold, yet it’s safe to say that nobody wants a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.

Isn’t that great? We do that in fundraising too. Donations are our “drill.” We spend lots of time talking about donations and ways to give. But in reality, no one wants to write a check, enter a credit card number, or make a planned gift.

They want the quarter-inch hole: a specific impact from their gift.

Personally, this is alot like the problem I tend to have with the United Way. I can’t really get my head around all they do. And whether the money goes to them or the organizations they serve. So every year when I hear about the annual pledge drive, I hear “payroll deduction.”

I hear drill not hole. And I support them, but more because I have to than because I want to.

But recently, an interesting message that came through our internal email at the hospital. Look at the skilled way the sender sold us a hole:

As you all know, our 2008 United Way Campaign is coming to a close tomorrow. We are only 70% of our goal of $22,000. Please, please, please consider giving if you have already not done so! With some of our money raised last year:

  • 5 domestic violence victims and their children had court advocacy and protection orders;
  • Family of 4 burned out of their home had emergency food, clothing and shelter
  • 10 individuals in crisis were able to get emergency response counseling
  • 10 elders had a hot healthy meal delivered for 3 months
  • 15 homeless individuals had 4 nights of emergency shelter and 8 meals
  • 20 individuals received bereavement support due to the loss of a loved one
  • 150 children had quality after school care until 6 PM

The storytelling in this email did if for me. They showed me the hole I wanted. (I’m sure they’ve probably been doing things like this every year, I just “heard” it this year.) I’m sure it helps that they listed one of my biggest hot buttons first: helping victims of domestic violence. The others are very compelling too.

What would you put on your list of holes?

It’s all about nonprofit storytelling. Do you see how telling your story can be done in one sentence? Some argue it can even be done in six words!

As we approach the New Year, will you join me in pledging to improve our storytelling ability?

If you said “yes,” here are some resources to help get you started:
Free storytelling resources

Resources to purchase

This isn’t nearly a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start. Feel free to use the comments below to suggest other storytelling resources!

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