The Movie Starring Me: How Nonprofits Can Make Donors Feel More Awesome

I like to think of my life as a movie.

I assume I’m not alone in that line of thinking as I’m sure you’ve mentally etched your personal legacy or life story.

I have already chosen a much better looking actor to play me and I’ve paired myself with an Oscar-worthy cast.

My movie would have a soundtrack so immersive, you’d see the movie just to hear the riffs.

As the producer and director of my film, I’d portray the lead actor as someone who innocently sees a world of opportunity, attacking it with the zeal of a child.

And there would be the familiar themes that underline the human condition: Obstacles. Divisions. Change. Doubt. Understanding. Growth.

In this film, I want the main character to be the type you root for, but the type who understands his limitations and flaws—not the heroes that I grew familiar with in the 1980s and 1990s.

In my movie, the plot is constantly thickening, cycling through a rich bevy of characters that would make HBO producers roll their eyes.  With each scene, decisions would grow increasingly sophisticated and unsure.

This movie—hopefully a masterpiece—would show someone I could hopefully admire.

Make Donors Feel Like Stars

Just this week, Facebook created a short personalized video highlight feature, called Look Back, for its users to share with others. It essentially wove together their most popular posts, scored by an instrumental in the background.

My Facebook feed was rife with these videos as friends and family—even the shy and seemingly standoff-ish—were compelled to share their digital legacies.

The social media behemoth had unlocked something ancient, something that gives us meaning—stories.

And the more I think of it, this is just what social media is about—telling stories. We are social animals. We desire a connection with others.

This is where you come in: How you can make your donors feel like stars? One of the biggest obstacles development and fundraising departments face is that they may have donors who plan to include them in estate plans or want to make a donation, but never come forward.

That’s why I’ve been obsessed with storytelling. I’m proud of creating a social experience that would compel your donors to think about their life story and consider what the next chapter would be about.

I’m part of the team that created My Storybook, a Facebook game (available very, very soon) that challenges people to consider their life narrative. It concludes with an important question for donors: Have you fulfilled your life aspirations?

Particpants can then decide to inform a nonprofit if they intend to include them in their will, download bequest language and even make an instant donation. This is the type of social experience you can provide for your donors that makes them feel like they’ve done or can be a part of something significant.

My Movie: Part II

So this is my last blog for The Stelter Company.

I’m continuing the pursuit of my dream. I’m moving to Charlotte, N.C., to work in trends insights, a form of research that maps why consumers do what they do and why they do it—not just historical tendencies, but future expectations and behavior.

Since I’ve worked at The Stelter Company, I’ve joined a culture of those who are equally obsessed with understanding donor behavior and expectations.


I want to thank Michael Hutney, director of emerging media, and Jess Mimick, social media strategist, for being rock-star professionals and friends.

You embraced my off-the-wall ideas and made them better.

Oh, and…I will miss our meetings where we ramble about the sheer awesomeness of YouTube while making time to mock my Chicagoan tendencies and worldview.

And thank you The Stelter Company. You gave me a shot and I’m glad it was part of my life…my movie.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: