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Spider-Man and fundraising: How to tell your story like a superhero

There are some distinct traits that arguably make Spider-Man one of the “greats” when it comes to superheroes—he is definitely one of my favorites. And as Peter Parker (aka: Spider-Man) returns to Marvel for the new, collaborative movie with Sony due to hit theaters July 2017, seemed fitting to weave this fictional character’s more beloved traits into fundraising.

Here’s how to transcend those top traits into your fundraising message and, in turn, secure more online donations.

1. Be relatable

Peter Parker is someone that others can relate to. We’ve all been in a situation where things aren’t always going our way or we feel unwelcomed in the “in” crowd. The great thing about online fundraising is that it opens the door to transparency and relatability. Donors are able to check you out online before they even decide to donate.

Share your story in a way that speaks to your constituents in a way they will relate to. If your target is Baby Boomers, think of analogies that work in terms of what they remember about growing up. If you are raising funds for school initiatives, talk about the effects in terms of what donors would remember from their days in school and how that translates into what you’re trying to achieve for your particular initiatives. Showcase these stories online and provide all relevant links—mobile donation pages, text-2-give options—so that your readers can act when they’re ready, on their time.

2. Make it real

The thing about Spider-Man and the storylines that go with his character is that they feel real. Your job when telling your nonprofit’s story is to make it real, too. A video is a great way to do this. One of the reasons I can relate to Spider-Man is not just through his comic stories, but through the movies—I see what is happening. A whopping 47% of Americans learn about nonprofits through social media and online channels—including video. Using video provides an outlet to connect with donors and show real impact. Utilize video to:

  • Send thank-you messages to donors
  • Gather testimonials from those who use your services
  • Establish trust
  • Link to mobile giving pages or announce a new SMS campaign
  • Introduce your board or leadership team, showing transparency throughout your organization

3. Show your funny side

It doesn’t have to be all the time because there are many causes you raise money for that are very serious and don’t require joking around. But as I mentioned, people like to relate to causes and organizations and that means taking off your serious face once in awhile and showing your funny side. Spiderman-Man saves the city and keeps his humor intact (“My weakness! It’s small knives!”) Think about how your nonprofit can portray a brand message that is relatable and funny, when appropriate.

Blood:Water was successful in using humor during their Game of Thrones Campaign. The campaign, which ran for 24 hours, used humor, pop culture and bathroom puns to raise funds for Africa latrines.

4. Demonstrate your power

Spider-Man isn’t hugely buff likes some of the other well-known superheroes. He’s pretty skinny and isn’t overtly strong. But he has staying power and makes an incredible impact. This is your job, too. Demonstrate what you’ve done to help the people you serve. Showcase your success stories. Provide insight to the power and change you’re providing in your community. Likewise, think of the powerful channels available to do this and how those channels can translate into dollars raised. For instance, did you know*…

  • The average social media donation is $59 (and is growing each year)
  • Using Twitter during fundraising events can result in 10 times more money raised online
  • 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action
  • Donors who give via text are more diverse and more spontaneous with their giving (with nearly 1 of every 10 American adults doing so)

You may not have real superpowers, but you do have the power to make a difference in the lives of others. Think outside the box by using the above ideas to showcase your good cause and increase your donations. You have a great story to tell. Share it!


Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, a simple and effective fundraising CRM that specializes in earning recurring revenue for nonprofits through monthly giving. For 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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