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Telling the mission’s core story

by The NonProfit Times - April 16, 2013

Let me tell you a story …

Isn’t much of the fundraising challenge, if not the entire nonprofit mission, presenting a story that relates what people have gone through while it also tells people what they can do about a particular situation?

In his book “Winning The Story Wars” Jonah Sacks suggests the use of what he calls core story elements, the component parts that will become part of the story strategy. Seeing members of the target audience as heroes-in-the-making and recognizing the organization’s need and ability to mobilize them with a compelling story and inspiring message makes donors feel as though they can make a big difference.

The core story elements are:

  • Brand Hero. This is the embodiment of the primary audience the organization seeks to reach.
  • Brand Mentor. This is the embodiment of the brand.
  • Brand Gift. This is the creative wild card that makes the brand special and makes the brand hero believe higher-level values can be pursued through a relationship with the brand.
  • Moral of the Story. This is the core message that underlies, sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly, every story the organization tells.
  • Brand Boon. This is the contribution to the world that the brand hero will ultimately make.


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