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5 elements of telling a good story

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.

As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.


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