Every fundraiser needs a flair for drama

Serena had cancer, but now she’s well.

That’s a story, or at least the outline of a story.

But is it a story you’d eagerly drop whatever you’re doing to read?

Not really, right?

Unless you know Serena personally, it doesn’t promise much.

That headline/outline reveals a happy ending, so there’s no tension. No “what happens next?” The dark early part of the story is only hinted at. The happy resolution brings no real sense of relief or victory, because there’s no pain or danger to overcome.

Could this story grab your attention?

I can almost guarantee it could.

If the storyteller had a flair for drama. That means the storyteller would hunt for the drama in the story, and then emphasize it in the writing.

Drama is built from these story ingredients:

  1. Conflict. In this case, conflict between Serena and cancer. It’s a struggle.
  2. Tension. During the conflict, the outcome is not certain. It could go either way.
  3. Humanity. Details about Serena — her life, her expectations, what she has to say — help reader connect with her and care more.
  4. Change. All stories start someplace and end someplace else. Our story may start with Serena getting a cancer diagnosis. Then she goes through a battle. Then the good news finally comes.

A writer with a flair for drama will look for these things. They’ll probe by asking questions.

A lesser writer who just wants to get the situation down in writing will just outline the main facts and call it a day.

Which one is more interesting?

Which one will motivate more donors to give?

I think you know the answers!


Comments

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

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.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

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.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

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.

Recent Comments

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.