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The Importance of Testimonials

Who would you trust more – a new restaurant that advertised that they had the best burgers in town, or a friend who told you that they had just eaten the best burger of their life at that restaurant? Almost all of us would trust our friends much more willingly than a company who has something to gain from attracting our business. Now, put yourself in the shoes of a potential donor and imagine the impact that your supporters’ voices could have in your next marketing campaign.

Testimonials are a type of peer-to-peer communication that help build trust. To help you gather and use these testimonials, we’ve developed PWI Storyteller, a tool that allows you to customize questions for supporters and receive testimonial responses in the form of text, photos, and videos. Supporters can publish the testimonials on their own social media channels while you receive a copy for your own marketing purposes.

In this ebook, we will answer the “why” and “how” of getting and using great testimonials.

Why Should I Use Testimonials?

1. Stories are the most powerful way to communicate your message.

 No matter the situation, stories often resonate with people much more                 than facts or evidence could. Although you can’t control the content of the         stories you receive when you ask your supporters for testimonials, you can         craft your questions in a way that will give you usable and engaging                         responses. In the last step, we’ll provide a guide for how to create                            questions that will trigger great stories.

2. Credibility is enhanced when things come from a third-party source.

Just like we learned with the example of the burger restaurant, other people’s testimonials about you are more powerful than anything you could say about yourself. In a Nielsen global study, 90% of people surveyed said that they trust the recommendations of people they know. 70% trust the recommendations of fellow consumers that they don’t even know at all. All other forms of advertising, whether print or online, fell below 60% trust.

How Do I Get Great Testimonials?

1. Craft the ultimate testimonial prompt.

To get testimonials after specific events, follow with your supporters as soon as possible while the experience is still fresh on their minds. You can ask for testimonials in the email blasts that you normally send to follow up after a big event. Ask the right questions. The more specific the testimonial is, the better. Tailor your questions to get detailed responses. As a general rule, use these tips from Knowhow Nonprofit to craft great questions:

a. Review your aims and objectives for what you want to achieve through the testimonials.

b. Ask who, what, when, and where. For example: “Why were you motivated to give to this organization?”; “What brought you to be involved with us?”; “How has your experience with this organization benefited you?”; “What are your favorite aspects of this organization and why?”

c. Come up with “painting a mental picture” questions – ask the beneficiary to describe a specific moment in time when they were impacted.

 2. Capitalize on submitted testimonials for your own marketing.

When you publish your testimonial responses, try to make them as personal as possible. Photos, videos, and names add even more credibility and help your wider audience of potential future supporters connect with the stories they read. With PWI Storyteller, your supporter testimonials connect with both familiar and unfamiliar audiences. By sharing their stories on their own social media channels, your supporters are putting information about your organization in front of at least 100 of their friends. If 100 of your supporters submit testimonials, your organization will be seen by a new audience of 10,000 people that most likely have similar interests to people who are already connected with you! Besides being shared on your supporters’ social media, testimonials are valuable for marketing your nonprofit. Quotes and stories planted throughout your marketing materials can make other donors feel like they are a part of a larger network of supporters. Everyone likes to hear how their money is making a difference. Besides building trust, testimonials can also help people learn more about facets of your nonprofit they may not have known about before. Whether or not you use PWI Storyteller, make sure to start collecting testimonials from your supporters to build your credibility and reach a new audience.

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