Nonprofit Storytelling: Seven Tips for Sharing Stories About Your Work

Lori L. Jacobwith is a master storyteller, speaker, trainer and author, and a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub. She has coached & trained thousands across North America to collectively raise $200 million from individual donors over the past decade.
__________

I’ve been coaching staff from social profit organizations for most of my career, even when I was working alongside them as the Executive Director or Development Director. One of my “soap box” topics has always been share MORE stories.

In the past while helping a CEO and Founder of a wonderful health related organization, I found myself struggling to keep engaged in the words she was using to describe their work. I asked Sara to share more stories to give real life examples so I could stay connected and continue to care about what she was saying throughout her 15-minute presentation.

Sharing client stories wasn’t new to Sara, but she struggled with how to use a story in short 3-4 sentences bites to paint a picture. The speech she gave was good, but it could have been even better had she used a few rules about stories:

1.  Stories should be about real people who need something, hopefully something that YOUR organization provides.

2.  Allow the person in your story to have a real name, age, and to speak for themselves.

3.  Minds wander, get real quickly. In about 4-10 seconds your listeners tune out if you haven’t grabbed them. Don’t tell me you are going to tell me a story about someone, just tell it. Start with the person’s name, age and a few descriptive words.

4.  Keep your story short. Six words to two minutes is the length I recommend.

5.  Allow your story to cause me to feel something. Anger, sadness, happiness, pride—it doesn’t matter what the emotion is, I just have to feel something.

6.  Your story should have a moment when people see themselves or someone in their own lives. Could be their aging parents, the daughter of the person who made their latte today or their own child.

7.  The best stories are told by the person themselves. Clients telling their own stories are the most moving way to share how your organization makes a difference.

A great story versus a good story can make the difference between keeping your donors and volunteers connected or losing them to the next good cause. Make sure to put a face on your work every day.

__________

Follow Lori on Twitter, visit her Facebook page for daily coaching tips, or read Ignited Fundraising from Lori for weekly blog updates.

  • Pingback: 5 Strategies for Successful Non-Profit Marketing -()

  • TERRY PIOUS PEREIRA

    Sir I doesn’t have CREDIT CARD and very poor man struggling for poverty.

    ” FOR HEALTH, EDUCATION AND MUCH OTHER TRENDS INCLUDED”.

    PS: I am only trained Med Lab Tech and agreed to solve all independently. I
    tried my best at Foreign Assistance Gov and now need your humble
    recommendation. Also I researched new innovative solutions which
    gives ” EQUAL FINANCE SHARING ” for all poverty around the world
    and here Round Table Conference a must. An example: Sir Edison
    invented BULBS and today whole world with BULBS. Just imagine it!

    ” Firstly Saluting All The Allied Flags “.

    CHILDREN S OF WAR VETERANS ARE ELIGIBLE HERE.

    Here my ” GENUINE DEMANDS ” in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

    ****************************************************************************

    Present temporary Address: ( Will be here till end June or July 2017 ).
    ————————————————————————————–
    From,
    Terry Pious Pereira ( S/o War Veteran ),

    Door No. 438,

    442-Nanjundapuram Main Road,

    Ramanathapuram,
    Coimbatore, Pin Code-641045,
    Tamil Nadu, India.

    Original e-mail: snehakumar4453@gmail.com / Mob No: 00918489988124.
    Please no calling because of deafness and all communication done by me.

    To,

    The Director ( DONOR ), USA.

    Sub: Researched New Innovative Solutions: For Freely Supporting The
    Poverty People Fund Program-me Which Helps Promote Independent

    Living. Also seeking for job into your organization as World Free Fund

    Director because of my best selected criteria ” SIX POINTS ” is

    highly valuable around the world.

    *************************************************************************

    Most Respected Sir,

    A very good email ( 6 Sentences ) snehakumar4453@gmail.com.

    1) Why you are contacting them ?
    For Freely Supporting The Poverty People Fund Program-me which
    helps promote independent living. Majority of the poverty are unskilled
    laborers and unable to stand independently on their own feet. Instead of

    providing for them jobs and opening large Canteens are of baseless
    calculations. On account I am providing for them with my best selected
    criteria mentioned in Para 3 which will never bring sufferings.into the

    circle. Also I researched new innovative solutions which gives ” EQUAL

    FINANCE SHARING ” for all poverty around the world and here Round

    Table Conference a must in ” The Giving Pledge ” or Federal Gov, USA.

    2) Who you are?
    I am S/o War Veteran and became deaf at the age of 17 after Tonsil
    Operation. My childhood dreams was to become a Doctor which
    scattered. Now I promise to give you my highest appreciation in doing
    the generosity in South India or plus the whole world if necessary. My

    late father served for the British Indian Army and faced the most horrific

    Second World War in Malaysia against the Japanese Army in history.
    He always admires the Britishers and Americans then survived without
    ” Monthly Pension ” and expired on 15/3/1994 as bravest hero in Kerala
    State, South India.

    3) What your cause is?
    Actually this is good for providing each family Rs25,00,000 ( Rupees
    Twenty-five Lakhs ) as Fixed Deposit for fifty years non refundable

    especially to every females aging 18 and separately for their mothers.

    Those females married at the age of eight onward are granted the same.

    They all will live happily with the Monthly Interest from The Central Bank

    of India. After death transferring to next female kin and such agreement

    should have to deliver to The CBI. Thereon they won’t face any problems

    on food and yearly The CBI Interest will be increasing. Providing free

    housings for 500 families on ordinary 25 Stroey new building and Police

    Station in additional half on the Ground Floor and the other for Super-.

    Market. In each Flat with small hall, 3 small bedrooms, dinning hall, one

    kitchen and two small bathrooms. Free for Medical ( Local and Abroad ),

    Foreign Education and Cochlear Implantation for all hearing impaired.

    For all males jobs compulsorily adjusted which is marked in my brain.

    4) What you want?
    Please kindly give me very strong CASH CAPITAL as ” Fixed Deposit ”

    for fifty years non refundable into The Swiss Bank in Switzerland or to

    The SNB ( The Swiss National Bank ) in Trivandrum, Kerala State, South

    India. All through the ” Monthly Interest ” I agreed to do the generosity in

    South India or plus the whole world if necessary. Otherwise you may

    kindly send me ” Bank Check ” and I will deposit here and beside never
    born as money mongering animal. Here very important notification:

    Those having Swiss Bank Accounts or whichever were offered complete

    freedom to do anything around the world.

    5) Why they should help you?

    I heard US Governments and Private Organizations giving away ” Billions

    of Dollars ” to certain groups all over the world for doing the generosity
    and most commonly inside USA. As a S/o War Veteran I am requesting
    for my ” GENUINE DEMANDS ” with proofs.

    6) What the next step is?

    My first step is to go for my Cochlear Implantation after getting your

    money then continuing with the above mentioned criteria. Now I am

    sending you the paste copies of my father’s SEPOY CERTIFICATE and

    his Service Promotion Certificate issued from Malaysia together with

    my Indian Passport, Audio-grams Test plus new photo.

    Looking forward to your humble response

    Thanking you very much.

    Yours obediently,
    Terry Pious Pereira.

    ____________________________________________________________

    Audiogram 25-Jul-2016 23-36-24.pdf​

    Terry 17-Aug-2016 22-33-13.pdf​

    _____________________________________________________________

    Copy of —-.jpg​

    Passport TP 09-Aug-2016 17-41-03.pdf​

    _____________________________________________________________