Telling the ‘why’ story – A Skype conversation helps me figure it out

Fundraising involves a lot of asking and begging, with the hope for a follow-up (of some money). But how do you this? How do you get people to hear you and trust you with their money?

I had not really thought about this, until a recent Skype conversation with good friends where we discussed the fundraising process. For the money I am collecting to get for URDT’s school truck, I had really just asked close friends, who would not require me to tell them what I am calling in this blogpost “the why story”. But is this what I think successful fundraising should look like? No.

Anyway, in that conversation, we talked about how we would improve our campaigns. In one part, it went something like this:

My friend: “What’s your why story?”
Me: “My what?”
My friend: “Why is this important to you? How can you get me- a possible donor- to believe enough to click on your page right now?”
Me, feeling pressured: “I have a lot of emotional, physical and spiritual drive to do this, and I cannot even put it in one sentence.”
My friend: “Well, in that case, I cannot give you my donation!”

I laughed- because she was my friend- but that was exactly the response I needed. I realized that even if I have written several motivation letters to admission officers and cover letters to prospective employers, I was failing to find my why story. It is a continuous learning process; a constant editing of what I knew as “an elevator pitch”.

For now, this is my challenge, putting emotion into words. My friend explained to me that I needed the people to connect to me as a person, and that presenting it in a story- like most of my first paragraphs of motivational letters- does just that. I need to work on that story and I need to make it clear and urgent. It is still not easy because it is still pleading but this time with the personal, and I can only hope that by telling my why story, I will be able to help the URDT girls get that school truck.

It is a learning process, an exciting one.

Nshunge is fundraising to help buy a school truck for URDT Girls School in Kagadi, Kibaale district. She will be sharing her progress and her learning process here every Thursday and hopes that it will be helpful for other Ugandan women who are running-or thinking about running- fundraiser campaigns.

You can donate to her campaign here

Editor’s note: This post was supposed to go up yesterday, and we apologise about the day-after posting (This was not the author’s fault). We shall be more consistent in the coming weeks.

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3 thoughts on “Telling the ‘why’ story – A Skype conversation helps me figure it out

  1. Pingback: My why story: I think I have articulated it | Mon pi Mon

  2. Nshunge…perhaps you could get one of the URDT girls to give their personal story and how the school has impacted them (in addition to your why). I think donors want reassurance that their money will be properly invested and it will make a difference to an actual life, especially in this era of a million online fundraising appeals.

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    • Thank you for the message and tip. I have contacted a few of the girls at the school to provide me with their stories and that way donors can feel attached to the cause and the people they are donating to.

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