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No Story to Tell

On occasion, you may have truly emotional stories to tell and have a difficult time deciding which one to use for your organization.


At other times, it may feel like an impossible task to find even one that you think will move your donors.


Luckily, there is a 2-step process to use that will help you through this dilemma:

  1. Be specific about what you need people to understand about your nonprofit’s focus (the problem or cause),and about your proposed solutions and  impact.

  2. Choose a story or find one that provides answers.


Even if the problems or causes you focus on or the solutions you propose are complex, if you use this 2-step method, you will find success. That’s because the right story – of people overcoming obstacles – will highlight your focus and answer crucial questions in relatable ways.


Here are 3 main story types to use and the answers each typically provides:

  • Impact Story – What things are like now and what they will be like after the donor has helped to fund the solution.

  • People Story – Profiles of donors, staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries.

  • Strengths Story – How your organization’s solution increases impact.


When you are clear on the questions you need to answer, build a few stories of each relevant type and use them in future campaigns and test the responses.


My bet is that the work you do identifying the answers that prospects and donors want and then sharing the answers via the right story will generate quick understanding and an emotional connection. And, sooner than later, this will motivate the action you need, whether it’s a gift, a petition signed, or a new volunteer who wants to help.

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