2 lousy stories and a great one

Stories sometimes seem like magic.

But there’s no magic involved. When you tell the right story, you unlock the generosity of more people. When you tell the wrong one, not much happens.

So what stories are right or wrong?

Here’s a great answer to that question from the Better Fundraising Blog, at Which story are you telling?

  • Wrong story: The story of one beneficiary who has already been helped. Nice and heartwarming (and highly appropriate for your newsletter), but not good at raising funds.

  • Wrong story: The story about the services the organization provides, what year the organization was founded, and what the organization believes. Even worse at raising funds. Interesting to insiders; boring to everyone else.

  • Right story: The story of the difference the donor’s gift will make. That’s the story donors are looking for: “Will my gift to this organization make a difference?”

The first two stories at best hint at what their giving might do — and at worse are irrelevant to the donor. The story about the change that can happen when the donor gets involved raises a lot more funds.


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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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