Fundraising Myth No. 4: There’s No Science to Storytelling
Many nonprofits overlook storytelling because they aren’t sure how to use it. What story should we tell? How long should it be? Should it be told from the organization’s point of view or the perspective of someone we’ve helped? Should the story be featured in an email? A letter? On social media?
These are just a few of the questions that nonprofit professionals often ask when it comes to storytelling. Sometimes it feels like there's just an unknown art to storytelling as opposed to a science.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Nonprofit storytelling as a science has received quite a lot of attention lately, with organizations developing formulas that work best for them (even political campaigns are getting in on great storytelling).
It’s important to note that there isn’t a single tactic that’s going to work for every nonprofit.
Each organization has its own story to tell, and the way in which it tells that story is ultimately up to that organization. But, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Start with a character or someone who has been helped by your organization.
- Give the audience details and flesh out the character.
- Outline the character’s goals and introduce a conflict that obstructs those goals.
- Demonstrate how the character overcame adversity (with some help from your nonprofit).
- Let donors know how they can help this character’s story continue.
Following this outline and tweaking it where you can will lead to successful storytelling, making it much easier to ask for donations from your donors.
The Truth: Nonprofit storytelling has key components that every organization can use for effective communication and fundraising.