The Art of Storytelling

Probably one of my favorite memories as a child was listening my parents tell me stories about how life was when they were my age. Rather than hearing fictitious fairytales of princesses, I wanted to hear about my mother’s growing up in an orphanage and my father’s adventures in the slums of Los Angeles. My fascination with other’s stories remains to this day.

So when I read “Nonprofits discuss strategies for catching attention of donors” by Kelly Corrigan, her message resonated with me. I thought to myself, what would compel me to donate to a nonprofit? The answer is simple, hearing the stories of those who would directly benefit from my donation.

“…We need lofty stories in nonprofits to get people to listen and understand that change is possible,” said Tim Carpenter, who is a part of the Burbank Senior Artists Colony nonprofit.  How very true.

What drives people to donate to nonprofits? Usually they have a personal alliance or vested interest in the organization’s mission. But how can you reach those who don’t have any sort of emotional tie to your mission? You need to speak to those distant emotions and the best way to do so is through storytelling.

Once you’ve determined who your target audience is, think about the stories you need to tell that will command attention. If you’ve done enough good for others and the community, this task shouldn’t be difficult. Who benefits from your services or work? Get those people to speak for you. Real, transparent and engaging stories may be the best way to convince donors that what you’re doing is really making an impact.

Everyone loves a good story, right?


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