Put Persuasive Storytelling to Work for Your Nonprofit

Storytelling cuts through the mass of information surrounding us. So, instead of being bombarded with facts, names, figures, and other chunks of information that dull your audience’s interest, a story lead makes what you’re trying to say seem personal and exciting.

For example, instead of promoting a two-year-old program (and promotion is the first step in fundraising) with a promise of providing "art and music classes for 8,400 children in 450 Philadelphia elementary schools that currently offer none at all," you can lead with a story like this: (NOTE: This is a fictional scenario.)

"In 2001, fifth-grader Arlene Sherman was one of the first elementary school students in her Philadelphia district to participate in the Art for All program. Arlene, who had never before had art or music classes in school, found that she loved to sing, and had a talent for it. After three years in the program, one of her middle school teachers took Arlene to an audition for a city-wide children’s choir, and she made the cut. After three years as the lead alto in the choir, Arlene is now the student choirmaster, and has started a choir in her own high school. Thanks to Art for All, Arlene now loves music, and has honed her singing talent. Even better, she’s spreading her passion, and her knowledge, with fellow students."

When you use a story like this, you must tell the truth. Exceptions are stories that you clearly label as based on imagination by saying something like "Imagine .."

Read on for tips on effective nonprofit storytelling, and the benefits that doing so will deliver to your organization.

Nancy Schwartz on February 3, 2006 in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 0 comments
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