Telling Stories in Fundraising - Sandy Rees, fundraising coach

Each month, members of the Get Fully Funded Club are treated to a webinar lead by an expert in fundraising resource development.  Our club webinar this month was so good I wanted to share a few takeaways with you.

Our presenter was Lori Jacobwith of Lori is a master storyteller and she shared some of her storytelling genius with us to show us how a great story leads to big fundraising.

Stories move us.

Stories create unforgettable, deep emotional connection.

Fundraising is based on emotion, so it makes sense that telling a story is a great way to engage a donor or prospect emotionally.

If you’ve been reading this blog very long, you know I’m a huge advocate for telling stories about the people whose lives have been changed by the work your organization does.

Can you tell a bad story? You sure can.

Make it boring, make it too long, and add enough jargon and you’ll lose people.

What makes a story work? Short enough to be interesting and long enough to include the pertinent points.

Telling Your Story As a Fundraising Tool

The secret to telling stories, according to Lori, is this: convey your impact through real people.

Tell a story that people can relate to. Add enough details that the listener or reader can see a picture in their mind of the person you’re describing.  Tell about the results and the transformation. Talk about how that person’s life is different now.

People give because they want to make a difference, be a part of something bigger, and feel good about their decision to make a gift.

What they get in return for their gift is a tax receipt, added to mailing list, and maybe some information about what the organization has done.  Look at the disconnect!  No wonder our biggest problem is donor retention!

It’s our job as Fundraising staff to go find the stories.

Don’t expect your co-workers to bring them to you on a silver platter.  And don’t expect to get great stories if you ask for stories from co-workers. They don’t necessarily know what you want or need. Invest the time to ask good questions and you’ll get juicy story material.

Lori shared a great quote with us, and I’ll share it here with you:

People will forget what you said, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.

You can get Lori’s step-by-step guide to storytelling for free at I highly recommend you grab it, so you can get started telling great stories!

Oh, and if you’d like to know how you can join the Get Fully Funded club, go to

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