The story nonprofits should be telling their donors

I saw vlog yesterday in which a nonprofit practitioner spoke passionately about the need for nonprofits to tell stories.

I agree. Completely.

But here’s where the advice went off the rails (I’m paraphrasing):

We’ve got to learn to tell the story about the amazing way our organization is making the world a better place.

You see, that’s not it. It’s not even close, really.

If you want to raise funds, the stories you need to tell are stories about how the donor is going to change the world. It’s not a story about you. And it’s not a story about the people or things you serve.

It’s a story about heroic donors who take specific action through their giving.

Telling stories about the awesome things your organization is doing is basically just noise in a donor’s world. It’s bragging, and the only people interested are your staff, board, and other insiders.

Not that discovering and learning to tell the story of your organization is a bad thing to do. It might help align your internal people and bring new unity to your work.

But it’s not fundraising. Don’t let anyone tell you it is.

I can help you find and tell your donors’ stories, and I’m available for free 25-minute coaching sessions. Just click here and directly schedule an online conversation with me or with Sean Triner.


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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.