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Copy and Storytelling

The philanthropic sector is no stranger to the power of storytelling. In the digital age of data and analytics, it can be easy to fall into the habit of only reporting numbers to stakeholders instead of sharing an impactful story. This section explores how you can leverage the power of your story to help build meaningful relationships with new and retained audiences.

Best Practices

From Vanessa Chase Lockshin in npEXPERTS: Share the Love: “By choosing to incorporate storytelling into your communication work you will be enriching supporters’ lives with the knowledge that they are helping to make the world a better place – and that is what will inspire them to give for years to come.”

Here are a few tips for effective storytelling at your organization:

Start with why. Think about the point of your work beyond simply receiving donations. Remember to talk to the reader and not at them. Your audience will be more engaged and willing to read something that puts their interests front and center. Make sure you’re conveying information that feels relevant to them.

Add context around the facts. It’s great to say you raised 10% more than last year, but what was the true impact of those additional funds? Is there a specific tie to the cause that you can share, maybe someone who was directly impacted by the increase? Include measurable accomplishments and community impact and make sure you’re including everyone from board members to social media followers.

Collect stories regularly. Get ideas from your program staff, volunteers, and donors. The stories you tell don’t always have to be about the big picture of your organization. Think about the relationships and small acts that help your cause. Talk to your biggest fans and the staff that see the day-to-day operations. Chances are they’ll have something worth sharing!

Consider the medium. Make sure the content you’re creating makes sense for the medium you plan to use. A long financial report probably isn’t appropriate for a blog post, for example. Remember, you can use content in different ways. As long as your why is consistent, you can thoughtfully retell the story in a way that makes sense for any medium.

Learn more on the value of the creative team in fundraising, as well as best practices for aligning your messaging across platforms, in the Development Plan Toolkit: Your Three-Step Guide to Strategic Fundraising.