5 ways to tell better stories for fundraising

Fundraising depends on stories. Not just any old story, but one that connects with the reader and impels them to action.

Here are some common errors fundraising writers make that let make their stories ineffective, from the Stelter Insights Blog, at 5 storytelling mistakes (and how to avoid them):

  1. No real barriers. A story is about change. If your story doesn’t have a problem or a challenge, or something broken that needs to be fixed, it’s not really a story.
  2. Lack of details. Details, especially those that connect to the senses, make stories much more immediate and real.
  3. Too many details. But leave out things that don’t carry the story forward and make it feel real.
  4. No real hook. What makes the story memorable? Find that thing that’s startling, unusual, or amazing.
  5. No person. Your story is not going anywhere if it’s not about a person. One person.

And remember this: No matter what story you tell, the real story must be about the donor.

Leave the donor with the ability to enter the story by donating, and changing its ending to a happy one.


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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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