Words are everything in fundraising. One major key to your success is found in the strength of your nonprofit storytelling.

The way you tell your story and engage people in your message can make or break your fundraising efforts.

Jen, what do we mean by storytelling you may ask...

At its most basic level, storytelling is a way to convey facts, information, history and experience from one person, the teller, to another, the listener, but it goes deeper than that.

Stories are interactive, connecting, bonding and gripping.

Shared stories can tie whole cultures and groups together. Shared stories connect and bind all sorts of people, from families to religious groups.  Your best friend is your best friend because there are a few stories only the two of you share.

In fundraising, stories are one of the strongest ways to make emotional connections between donors, organizations and community impact.

Nonprofit storytelling lets donors and volunteers know that they are making an impact and making life better for real people.

In other words, you are letting your donor know that he/she is part of your story and most importantly part of the beneficiary’s story.

So, how good are you at using storytelling in fundraising?

Why is storytelling an effective fundraising tactic to increase funding and engagement?

  • It connects with the emotions. Stories are much more powerful and motivating than merely using statistics or discussing administrative goals.  Donors don’t support you so you can buy a new printer or move into a better building.  Those things may be important, but only as a means to the real goal of helping make the world a better place.

  • It shows donors that their actions are making a difference. They need to know that goals are being met and lives are being improved.  The emotional satisfaction can keep them motivated and prevent burnout. It may inspire them to donate more and get more involved with your cause.

  • It gives dignity and context to the beneficiaries and connects their lives to the donors. Telling stories prevents your beneficiaries from being just another statistic.  It gives them depth and authenticity.  It allows them to have a voice in your foundation just as staff, donors, and volunteers have a voice.  It reminds everyone involved that you are helping living, breathing people.

    Begin to use this powerful tool right away! Today in fact. When you are ready for expert help, schedule 20 min. on my calendar to make the shift right away: www.jdyarbrough.com

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