Fact or Stories?

Information is always more powerful when it is connected to real people. My boss reminded me of this just the other day. In writing an e-newsletter instead of just presenting facts I was encouraged to weave in key messages and stories.

Instead of saying, “Hurray, we raised a $100,000,” why not use this as an opportunity to tell the story of one of your major donors and encourage others to give at that level. Talk about what a gift like that can do for your organization. Include praise for the donor’s generosity. This shows everyone how you treat your donors and also provides peers of that donor an incentive to give at that level.

Another trick is to weave key fundraising and organizational key messages into your story telling. Instead of just saying that you had a great house party mention some of what you talked about and how that relates to your mission. Or, instead of just saying you helped an individual mention why that is important to your organization.


4 Responses to Fact or Stories?

  1. […] A Small Change… Fact or Stories? “Information is always more powerful when it is connected to real people,” Jason Dick states. […]

  2. Anne Gentle says:

    Stories, especially sticky stories with a ring of truth, credibility, and concrete people at the heart are sooo effective. Not always easy to write, though. But a couple of books I read recently like Clay Shirky’s “Here Comes Everybody” and Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s “Groundswell” have awesome stories – and good retelling. Is there a similar book you’d recommend with fundraising stories? I’d love to read more.

  3. Pamela Grow says:

    I am a firm believer that stories sell an organization’s mission like nothing else: http://budurl.com/jlqd. Every organization should have not just one story, but many. One book that I have found very helpful is Storytelling for Grantseekers: The Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising.

  4. Sally says:

    Dear Jason,

    Thank you for posting this post. I would like to respond to the statement: ‘Information is always more powerful when it is connected to real people’ by telling you the principles behind the platform pifworld (www.pifworld) and other fundraising websites like just giving. They are a success because projects and activities are connected to a person and get a face, they are able to raise more money.

    I am working at pifworld, a social network that enables organizations to promote their projects through visual updates. There are different roles in the pifworld, people can be player, ambassador, fieldworker or NGO-administrator. As a player you can donate to a project and invite your friends. As an ambassador you can pimp your profile and explain why you support and promote a specific project you admire. Through the social network principle, you can invite friends and colleagues.

    Our platform is only launched two months, but we noticed that projects that have ambassadors and players receive more support. Also organizations that have installed fieldworkers and have active NGO administrator, which means a picture and a nice personal story receive more attention. Apparently giving a personal ‘face’ to people behind the project and seeing that you friends are involved tiggers potential players to be more willing to support.

    So to answer you question, your boss is absolutely right people respond more to persons and personal stories than facts.

    If you have any feedback, feel free to drop me a line!


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