Create *bulletproof* stories for your nonprofit

September 19, 2018


Ever notice how the big ideas begin with stories?

He was trekking on a remote mountainside in Tibet on a Buddhist journey. That’s when, exhausted and feeling “really, really crappy,” Dave Asprey came upon a one-bedroom hut. It was there that a Tibetan woman served him a regional drink…

…a cup of hot tea blended with butter.

“I felt a mental clarity come on,” he later relayed. “Everything just felt easier.” Asprey has even gone on to claim that the resulting coffee he developed from the drink helped to boost his IQ score by more than 20 points.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Fast-forward over 10 years later, and Dave Asprey has created a multi-million dollar business with the coffee drink that evolved from that cup of buttered tea. Bulletproof coffee consists of hot coffee combined with butter and a “high octane” oil. On his site, Asprey sells coffee, “smart” fats, drinks, bars, proteins, and even high-priced exercise equipment. All of this is marketed under the Bulletproof brand.

And it started with a simple story that captured the imagination.

What’s your organization’s million dollar story?

We love to talk about our programs. We can spout the statistics that form the basis of our work at the drop of a hat.

But statistics never motivate your supporters to give — and give generously. It’s that emotionally compelling hook that triggers your supporters’ imagination. The story that you share about the impact of your work and how your donors are making it happen.

Do you have a system for storytelling?

Reflect regularly. How well are you sharing your stories? Have you captured that emotional hook? Are you making it a practice to collect your donors’ stories? Are there stories that you could revisit? Do you know which stories resonate best with your donors – and are you making it a regular practice to find out?

These are the questions I ask my students and clients daily.

Because great storytelling lies at the heart of your fundraising success. And it’s why we’ve devoted a weekly feature to storytelling, highlighting examples of great storytelling. You can always check the archives when you get stuck.

What’s your best story?

Here are some resources you may want to check out:

For inspiration, check out our Power of Storytelling Archives and Oscio, billed as “the best of nonprofit marketing.”

How to share your founder’s story.

4 Simple Guidelines For Your Nonprofit Social Media Storytelling Strategy, from Julia Campbell.

The Nonprofit Storytelling Conference. This year’s conference takes place in Orlando, Florida.

Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising. Cheryl A. Clarke. Having worked both sides of the funding aisle, I know first-hand the importance of storytelling in grant proposals.

Emotionraising: How to astonish, disturb, seduce and convince the brain to support good causes.  Francesco Ambrogetti. Inexperienced fundraisers tend to shy away from emotion in their storytelling, often referring to it as “manipulative.” But emotion is at the crux of solid storytelling in fundraising and Frankie explains the science behind why it works.

Nonprofit Storytelling | Basics & More™. The original online storytelling class for nonprofit fundraisers.

By the way, that coffee? Love or hate it, you can’t argue with the almost mythological success of the Bulletproof brand!

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