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More Ways to Understand NonProfit Storytelling!

The more we understand the more funds we can raise. As our nonprofits prepare for Giving Tuesday on November 30 we need all the information we can get on how to make the best story for our audience, our funders, and our constituents and boards!

This information and excerpt comes from:

9 Powerful Examples of Nonprofit Storytelling

How To Tell A Compelling Nonprofit Story

1. Be Intentional

Storytelling is a tactic in service of a larger goal, so first you’ll need to be clear about what that goal is. Then, you can be intentional with both the stories you choose and how you tell them. 

Common storytelling goals include:

2. Activate Empathy

Stories work when they make us feel. They help us imagine ourselves in a situation, and actually trigger chemical activity in the brain that promotes empathy and prosocial behavior (like making a donation!). 

In order to get the feelings flowing, your story will need:

  • Emotional vocabulary
    Don’t skip the emotional impact of the situation you’re describing. Encourage the subjects of your stories to talk about how they felt, as well as the facts of what happened.
  • Sensory details
    Including details from all five senses–sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch–helps the brain immerse itself in the story.
  • A central character
    It’s easier for the audience to connect with a single, specific character than a vague group. Focus your story on one person’s experience–it gives the audience someone to cheer for and identify with.
  • A storytelling structure
    A storytelling, or narrative, structure is simply a system for arranging the information in your story in an interesting and engaging way. Classic structures like the Hero’s Journey or Aristotle’s 3 Act Structure can provide a framework that keeps the audience wanting to know more.

3. Make Connections

Stories are all about building connections. They make the audience feel emotionally connected to your cause, and can help make connections between esoteric ideas and real-life actions. Spell out these connections in your story — show how what donors do impacts the story, how change happens, and why it matters.

Supercharge Your Story With Visuals 

The web has made visual storytelling more important than ever for nonprofits. Photos, videos, infographics, and images can all supercharge your story’s impact. 

The story continues with lots of visual examples! If you would like to read more, go to

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