Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | What do your donors’ stories look like?

December 4, 2017

I travel from Philadelphia to Connecticut an average of once or twice a month via Amtrak. And when I do, I always take the opportunity to read The National, Amtrak’s bi-monthly magazine. It features some of the best writers around, great regional restaurant coverage, and more.

Case in point: I loved the “Getting to know your fellow travelers at Philadelphia 30th Street Station.” The National showcased several travelers, noting their reasons for being in the city and capturing a bit of their essences. You never *really *know what’s going on with another human being, do you?

Now, imagine a feature like this on your organization’s website. Imagine sharing your donors’ stories! What would that look like? Think about going beyond speaking of why your donors give and actually give site visitors an opportunity to get to know the wonderful people who support your mission. For every organization, that’s unique. It always winds up looking different. Because, as we’ve said before, your donor base isn’t an indivisible entity — it’s a group of very diverse people!

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Amber H. December 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm

I believe the power of nonprofit storytelling is a terrific way to both gain supporters and potential clients simply because people feel more secure knowing that someone participated first and reaped a benefit or positive response.

Most donors give to an organization because they feel some personal connection to the mission of that organization or to the cause of a particular program. Therefore, individuals are more likely to give, give again, or give more generously the next time when they are reassured of how their donated dollars are being spent by the organization and how their contributions are making a positive impact on someone’s life. For example, if a donor receives a thank you letter in the mail along with a story about how their donation helped to provide a victim of domestic violence with housing, then this donor will have much more gratitude for the organization and more willingness to give again.

On the flip side, having satisfied customers and/or clients share their success stories can also be beneficial because members of the public like to see real proof of what the organization is doing. For example, a nonprofit that specializes in helping victims of domestic violence might make even more of a difference in someone’s life by simply allowing individuals to discretely share their stories. A victim of abuse who feels frightened to seek help just might gain back their encouragement to do so if he/she reads the success story of another victim who was able to receive assistance from that organization.

Great blog question!

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