Telling Your Story & Making a Connection
Crafting your message to your donors is one of the first and most important steps to building your campaign. People give to people, which is what makes storytelling such a critical component of fundraising. Describe your emotional connection to homelessness; tell the story of the first or most memorable time you made a connection with someone experiencing homelessness, and how it enriched your life. Explain why the BLOCK Project specifically resonates with you, and how it has given you a clear pathway toward becoming a part of the solution. What does it feel like to step off the sidelines and become a part of the solution? How has it changed you? How could it enrich and change your donors? For simple tips on storytelling, see this infographic: https://www.classy.org/blog/infographic-nonprofit-storytelling/
Pro Tip: “Make your message personal - tell the stories of people you’ve met or how the work of FH / The BLOCK Project has affected you. We were always really clear that our work with FH has transformed our family and we wanted to pay it forward to someone else by helping to transform their life. Always bring it back to the relationship and the connection to the cause.” - Former Team Leader
Guiding Questions to get you started:
Why are you raising funds for a BLOCK home?
What does the BLOCK Project / work of Facing Homelessness mean to you?
How has the issue of homelessness touched your life and why do you think it is important to address?
What is your fundraising goal?
How can your community support your efforts and make an impact on the issue of homelessness?
Know your stuff: One thing we can guarantee is that potential donors will have MANY questions about the BLOCK Project. We have compiled various resources to help you to become as familiar with different aspects of the project as possible. Before you begin crafting your message and reaching out to people we encourage you to review the following resources. Items in the bulleted list below are link to the actual resource.
Articles and Videos (Please use only selected videos in the “Fundraising Hub” to share out during your campaign.)
As an advocate for the BLOCK Project, how you talk about the project and people living outside matters a great deal. We have provided some guidance and samples below which may be helpful as you develop your messaging to your donors and broader community.
Always use people first language - this means saying things like "People who are experiencing homelessness" instead of "homeless people". This is because a person is always more than their circumstances and no one wants to be identified by their circumstances.
Where you live does not define who you are - make ZERO assumptions about a person's life experience, intellect, capacity, or abilities. We should treat everyone like a beautiful human being and relish in the curiosity of getting to know them for who they are, not what we assume them to be.
Some people prefer that their circumstances be referred to as 'houseless' because Home is where the Heart is and people living outside have a lot of heart! It's not necessarily offensive to say homeless but it is a distinction some people choose to make.
Do not use language or tone that creates a hierarchy. People living outside do not want pity, nor should we consider ourselves better just because it is not our life experience. Talk about the issue and those experiencing it in a way you would if it were your best friend, someone you consider an equal. This is very nuanced but it comes through most often in tone and connotation.
The general feeling of our language is that we assume the best of everyone - everyone deserves respect and unconditional love and is treated that way through language and action.