Nonprofit Storytelling – Chapter 1

in Fundraising,Storytelling

Great fundraising isn’t a data dump.  It isn’t 10,253 of this and 128,000 of that.  Or 589 of these and 1.3 million of those.

It IS telling your story.

When do you tell your story?  It can be done any time and in many ways.

> Tell a story to attract the best board members instead of trying to wow them with facts, history, or data.

> Tell a story to attract the best employees.  Give them a feel for what lies ahead and what you expect of them through a story.

> Tell a story to inspire your employees or board members to give their all with renewed vigor.

> Many nonprofits meet with major donors one-on-one to request gifts. Rally major donors to your cause and align them with your goals through storytelling.

> Tell a story to motivate people to donate to your cause through marketing channels (e.g., direct mail, email, website, video, etc.).

The first four in the list are examples of when telling a story face-to-face can electrify listeners to action.  Face-to-face storytelling is powerful.  Using it in any of the first four scenarios will definitely help your nonprofit grow.

As you read the list above you may have also deduced that all these stories aren’t about the people you help (i.e., the mission of your nonprofit).  Certainly that is the case when writing to donors about giving to your cause. 

But outside of that, the best stories to tell could be from your own life experiences, a movie, a fable . . . well, any of these types of stories can capture attention.  Illustrate a point.  Inspire people to your call-to-action ― whatever that may be.

And as you use stories to get just the right people working for you and inspiring them to be at their best, you’ll get better and better at writing the stories that inspire your donors.

Okay.  You’ve been reminded that nonprofit storytelling ― and all the ways it bolsters your fundraising ― goes far beyond what you do with donors.  Great. 

So what makes a good story?  HOW do you tell a story?  I cover that in the next chapter of,  Zapp Nonprofit Blog.