5 elements of telling a good story

October 6, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

It’s all right to ask donors for money, because that’s what fundraisers must do for an organization to survive. A large part of the nonprofit-donor exchange is not just extracting but also offering the donor a chance to feel good about the experience.

A good way to make donors feel good, and to acquire more donors, is to tell a story that touches donor prospects in some way.

Speaking during the 2015 Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference,

Nancy Bocskor said there is an art to telling a good story. In fact, she said there are five steps to good storytelling:

  • Use a story structure. Find the story first by exploring the data. Determine what people should do as a result. Write out the “story board” for the audience;
  • Be authentic … the story will flow. Make it personal. Make it emotional. Start with a metaphor or anecdote. Develop with data. Authenticity is rooted in facts, and facts are rooted in data;
  • Be visual. Use pictures, charts and graphs when possible. Design for instant readability;
  • Make it easy for the audience. Telling a story should be simple and direct. Stick to two or three key issues and how they relate to the audience; and,
  • Invite and direct discussion. Focus on highlighting what the audience needs. Highlight key facts that relate to the story. Invite readers to continue the discussion.
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