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SOFII is an online archive of fundraising best practice and creativity. It is filled with an ever expanding array of easily accessible exhibits, articles, videos, opinion pieces, hints and tips, book reviews and recommendations. The SOFII blog is a place for us to share some thoughts and ideas that might not have an obvious home on the SOFII website. It’s also a place for us to invite guest bloggers to share their views. If you’d like to contribute to our blog please get in touch with

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Storytelling inspired by film

By Lucy Gower

So we have already agreed how crucial storytelling is to your fundraising. If you are still unsure, read my last blog For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Tapping into the motivations of your audience, fulfilling their needs, capturing their imagination and evoking emotion that inspires them to take action is fundamental to successful fundraising.

You also know the importance of finding your story. Once you have found it there are many ways to tell it. Earlier this week I was researching the use of film for creating emotional stories. I found so many different examples and I want to share some with you so that they may inspire your own storytelling.

Grab yourself a coffee and take some time to watch these very different short films and consider how they make you feel.

Jot down your thoughts as you go along.

1. The Force: a super bowl advert for Honda using nostalgia and humour.

2. This amateur video captures the destructive power of the tsunami as it hit Kamaishi in Iwate prefecture, Japan.

3. Child’s i foundation raises £10,000 in 38 hours to save baby Joey’s life through the JustGiving community.

4. Topsy Foundation: AIDS sufferer, Selinah, agreed to film herself for 90 days to help others.

5. The tyranny book: Amnesty Portugal’s alternative Facebook.

6. The girl effect showing the extraordinary potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.

7. Cadbury’s chocolate advertisement. No one said it has to be all doom and gloom.

Desperate, joyous, funny, thoughtful, inspired and tearful are some of the words that I wrote down.

People need to feel something if they are going to take action, whether that action is to reach for their debit card, agree to a meeting, or write to their MP. How can you use some of the techniques in these films to make your supporters feel emotion and inspire them to take action?

Not all of the above examples are from fundraising. Look to related worlds; industries whose core business is to inspire or stir up an emotional response, for example advertising, journalism, or Hollywood.

How can you learn from other industries to develop your stories to emotionally connect with supporters and spur them into action?

Answers on a postcard please.