"Mommy, Will You Tell Me a Story?"
And Mommy says: “OK, honey. You see, your father and I work very hard to make a nice home for you. We shop for specials at the grocery store, and we’re putting away money for your education, and … “
Susie: “But, Mommy, I want a story about that red-nosed reindeer.”
Mommy: “Honey, I can’t tell you a real story because there are privacy issues involved.”
Enough. You get the point. And maybe you even remember when you were a child, curled up in your mother’s lap, saying, “Tell me a story.”
Have you changed? Apparently, yes, if you’re like a lot of nonprofit executives. You’ve forgotten how much you used to love a story.
But your donors haven’t forgotten. They haven’t changed.
So for goodness sake, why don’t you tell them stories? A lot of nonprofit executives seem to be on a mission to force their donors to digest the statistical facts about their crusade. And then they wonder why they don’t raise more money.
They ignore the fact that enjoying stories is something that seems to be an inseparable part of human nature. We grow up listening to stories. Later in life we buy novels and read long stories. And we go to movies, and we watch television. And everywhere we turn, there’s a story.
Recently, for example, The Wall Street Journal printed an article about major economic shifts and got into the facts simply by telling a story about a specific person. It’s the same with shows such as “20/20” and “Dateline.”
Or pick up a copy of Reader’s Digest and discover how many articles open with a story.
Back to charity executives — they need to review basic marketing techniques and strategy. The facts are the steak. The story is the sizzle. And the sizzle sells the steak. We all know that. Duh.