4 important elements to Storytelling

January 10, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

Writers from Dr. Seuss to Hemingway readily proclaim the importance of editing when creating new material. But even thinking about editing can be terrifying when you don’t have a clue where to start. Seeking out stories to spread the message of your organization is not an easy process and there’s no magic solution, but telling good stories gives a great reason “why” to donors who may be on the fence.

Two well-seasoned storytellers Mark D. Hofman, CFRE, MBA at The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and Heather R. McGinness, CNM, CFRE at Meyer Partners, gave some tips on “Creating a Culture of Storytelling” during the 2016 Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference. The duo gave ideas on where to start and how to incorporate stories into your ask:

  • We change the world with what we have, not with what we wish we had. Evaluating what’s going well in your programs and who you go to in the organization when you need inspiration are good places to start.
  • It is important to follow some basic guidelines when creating your story. Setting the scene with a location, subject, and antagonist allows your donor to see how they fit into the narrative as the hero.
  • Think like a director by following the storyboard model. Break down your appeal into smaller pieces to see how it fits together to make your story more cohesive.
  • Talk to your donors. Ask them what giving to your organization means to them and hear their stories, too.