The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Top 3 Storytelling Essentials for Fundraising

Once Upon a Time…

Everyone loves a good story. In celebration of National Tell a Story Day, we’re opening up early registration to our May Masterclass Webinar, “How to Tell Stories That Take Supporters from Passive to Passionate.” Discover the four steps to successful storytelling with Julia Campbell, author of Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits.

Whether you prefer to curl up with a good book or get lost in a film, the story is what captures our imagination. A good narrative brings people together and forms a common ground; it evokes emotion, sparks passion, and creates empathy.

For a nonprofit, a good story can:

  • intrigue journalists
  • inspire donors
  • motivate staff and board
  • rally supporters
  • ignite advocacy
  • secure corporate sponsorship

Stories are the basic building blocks for reaching our goals.

As fundraisers, you’re responsible for arousing sympathetic emotions and inspiring action. The most powerful way to do that is to tell a great story. But what makes your story great? What do you need to include?

The essential elements of any good story are the character, desire, and conflict.

Character

Your protagonist is who your audience relates to. Personalize your organization and mission. Look at your data and find those case studies that can serve as representational stories for the work you do. People are twice as likely to give a charitable gift when presented with an emotion-inducing personal story that focuses exclusively on one character’s plight.

Desire

We all want something. What is the desire within your character’s story? Is it a need to change their world, to obtain something, get rid of something, restore order, or escape a threat? Make sure their need is powerful and immediate.

Conflict

Conflict refers to the obstacles that arise and prevent the character from getting whatever she or he wants. Powerful stories about relatable people overcoming challenges inspire the reader (or listener) to help. Tap into those universal human emotions and your audience will engage with you.

Particularly when it comes to telling your nonprofit’s origin story—whether you’re discovering how to tell it for the first time, or simply want to refresh your approach—a powerful narrative is the foundation of successful fundraising.

Join us for our May webinarHow to Tell Stories That Take Supporters from Passive to Passionate” to explore more tips to create the ideal story for your fundraising.

Early registration now open. Sign up today!

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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