Storytelling for Nonprofits

The Best Way to Sell your Nonprofit

One of the best ways to sell your nonprofit’s cause is to tell a story that touches the recipient. Whether your cause is protecting wildlife, raising awareness for a disease, or even helping youth graduate high school, there is a story to tell. And when potential donors are captivated by a touching story, they are much more likely to donate to your cause.

“When emotion is powerful and genuine, there is no more powerful or constructive force for persuasion.” – Roger Ailes

Now, what makes a great story? We’d like to share 3 tips to successful nonprofit storytelling that we learned at a recent workshop “Storytelling for Success” by Ginny Pulos Communications:

First, the story needs to be brief. The story should include the most important emotional details about a person or animal, and the story must be true! The story should truly engage an emotion to allow the reader to feel a connection with the person or animal.

The story should also be told in present tense. In print or online, it is easy to transition a story to present tense by using phrases like “Picture this” or “Imagine how this feels”. When you take the reader through the day in a life of the person or animal, the reader emotionally attaches to the hardships they are going through, strengthening the emotional connection. Using past tense takes away from the intensity of the emotion and might not be enough to encourage the reader to take action.

Lastly, the story should end on a positive note. A reader wants nothing more than to see how a terrible story can end well. For nonprofits, this is a great opportunity to show the reader what they can do to make a difference. Tell the reader how a terrible story can be addressed by their donation and then include what their donation will do to help the story.

Following these storytelling tips will ensure your readers are captivated by your cause’s story and lead to stronger commitments from  supporters.

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