The Hero’s Journey has been told thousands of times, yet it never gets old. We all connect on some level to Frodo’s epic journey across Middle-earth to destroy the ring; to Luke Skywalker responding to Leia’s cry for help and taking a galactic journey toward becoming a Jedi; to Simba losing his father, blaming himself, and yet still choosing to return home to the Pride Lands to defeat Scar. These are the stories we never forget. These are epic journeys of the heroes that we long to emulate.
Joseph Campbell, a famous myth researcher, discovered that most human myths follow a set structure, which he called the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is not just an outline for a story. It actually mirrors the stages of human growth. In our private lives, we see ourselves as the hero and believe that we too can overcome our obstacles and make the world a better place.
Here is a (very) simplified representation:
In fundraising, the donor is our hero and it is our job to help them on their journey.
First, we must set the scene by showing, illustrating, or describing the current landscape or state of things. Next, we present the challenge by building a strong case for support. Third, we offer hope to be found, in the donor! The call to action is the hero’s call to be the hope! Now that our hero has accepted the call, they must go on a learning journey. In fundraising, this means that they must be brought deeper into the cause by understanding how they specifically can help and what exactly their support will do to solve the challenge. The happy ending comes when your donor makes a commitment and hopefully becomes an advocate of your cause.
Consider ways to make the donor the hero of the story in your fundraising efforts. Emphasize how you need their help and how they can make the world a better place through their contributions and support. Every communication between you and your donor contributes to the quality of their journey and determines whether or not they will take that road again.
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