Magnetic Storytelling: Designing the Perfect Call-To-Action

“You are losing the beautiful pieces of your story with a donate button.

This is what Mallory Erickson, MemoryFox Partner and Founder of Power Partners Formula, shared when she joined us for a MemoryFox Webinar this month to dive into magnetic storytelling. 

This is a common mistake in nonprofit storytelling – we lose our audience when they get to the donate button or to the “ask” at the end of a story. It’s a place where many of us fall short. Mallory painted the picture of what this looks like when it comes to fundraising campaigns. It goes a little like this…

memoryfox magnetic storytelling fox

    • You’ve told a beautiful story.

    • You developed a relatable character(s).

    • You presented the core conflict.

    • You built the rising action.

    • You hit the climax/turning point.

Your audience is fully engaged. They are invested, and they are feeling the emotion you’ve stirred. They relate to the character. Cortisol is pumping through them. 

And then…wham! Immediately after the climax you insert a…DONATE button. A cold, detached donate button. Suddenly it’s all about you and no longer about them, the reader. There’s zero relevance. All the beautiful pieces of your magnetic story are immediately lost with that call-to-action.

So what can we do instead?

The key to magnetic storytelling is that the resolution of the story should be an invitation. It’s an opportunity. It’s a moment to invite in our readers to belong in our world. We do this through warmer language and by creating a feeling of inclusion.

When we write our call-to-action (CTA), we should ask ourselves these questions:

    • What will make our reader feel a part of the solution?

    • What gets them involved?

    • What’s the relevance for our reader?

    • How does it relate to everything presented in our story?

    • Does it build urgency, community, belonging and identity?

A resolution that addresses these is where the magic happens, because what it’s going to do for our audience is release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the “love hormone”. It has the power to regulate our emotional responses and pro-social behaviors, including trust, empathy, and positive memories. It’s what makes us feel connected. And even more, the amount donors give is tied to the amount of oxytocin released in their brain.

This type of resolution makes our reader feel good for being a part of the solution. And the best way to do that is through relevance, because it allows our audience to identify with the story.

So what does this look like?

I asked Mallory to share some CTA’s that create relevance, something that is more than just a big blue DONATE button, and something that she has seen work well to prompt donations.

Here are a few examples she shared:

    1. “But what if you spent the next 20 of those seconds taking matters into your own hands. By *clicking here* you can join other parents in XXX right now. In the next 24 hours, we have the ability to XXX. That’s over 85,000 seconds of hope.”

    1. Together we can start to build the future we are all dreaming of – one filled with XXX. This future is built one step at a time, but the journey to join us is only a *click away*.

    1. That’s why we want to invite you to join these investors, to build this organization with us as a part of _____. So if you’re interested in helping us XXX, you can learn more and join us >> *here*

Each of these takes what was pertinent to the story itself and directly ties it to how a donor will make a tangible difference by contributing to the campaign. It shows the impact of their dollars – through relevance and measure.

Now it’s your turn!

How can you take the beautiful pieces of your next story and invite in your supporters to feel like they are an instrumental part of the resolution?

Overall, to get the full scope of Mallory’s take on writing magnetic stories that are relatable, that build trust, and lead to belonging (and ultimately motivate charitable action!), catch the replay of this MemoryFox Webinar – Magnetic Storytelling: How to Tell the Right Story to the Right Audience.

But why stop there? Check out our other storytelling resources:

natalie monroe memoryfox

About the Author

Natalie Monroe
Community Engagement, MemoryFox

Natalie landed in nonprofit with the military-to-agriculture movement, where she told the stories of veterans-turned-farmers feeding our country. Here she embraced content creation and the power of video messaging. When she’s not immersed in storytelling, you might find her volunteering with the local library friends in her community of Davis, California. Natalie would love to connect with you on LinkedIn!