Mistakes than can wreck even the best fundraising stories

Telling stories that move donors to action is not easy. In fact, a lot of otherwise good stories get torpedoed by simple errors, such as these pointed out by John Haydon at 5 Biggest Nonprofit Storytelling Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Bragging about your nonprofit. (If your story is just a vehicle for bragging about your awesomeness, it’s really not a story at all.)
  2. No protagonist. (The stories that move people the most are about one person and their struggle.)
  3. No problem. (Struggle, problem, conflict. It’s not a story without.
  4. No payoff. (A real story goes somewhere.)
  5. Jargon. (It’s easy to use your own ways of talking about your cause and thus become incomprehensible to your donors.)


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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