Today I head to Lincoln, Nebraska where I’ll be presenting at Cause Camp. An incredibly fun two-day event where nonprofits professionals learn and interact with fundraising and marketing leaders. I’m honored to deliver a workshop on Nine Steps to a Successful Fundraising Campaign, and a breakout session on Advanced Storytelling. (My most favorite topic!)

In both sessions we’ll talk about sharing stories and how important it is in fundraising campaigns and your overall success as a nonprofit.

I’m passionate about nonprofit organizations sharing stories of your impact.

Sharing stories about one person you’ve helped allows you to connect with your supporters on a personal and emotional level. And the double whammy is that those same stories can cause people to take immediate action. That action can be contributing time, talent, “stuff” or money. All good things, right?
Because we’ve all heard, over and over again that sharing stories is important I regularly come across what I call lazy, unemotional story sharing. Well-intended people are going through the motions of inserting a few lines about a client or volunteer in their appeal or their speech and calling it a story. The truth: It’s boooorrrrring.

So please; please; pay attention to what you sharing. Make sure you’re sharing actual stories and not giving reports.

How to tell the difference?

Stories are a narrative account of real or imagined events, according to the National Storytelling Association. You are not a reporter that has to worry about sharing objective and careful stories.

You are a fundraising or communications professional charged with inspiring others to take action.

The best thing to remember: Share how the person in your story feels. Don’t just share a list of facts about where the person lives or what program they participated in. Talk about how that person felt before they came to you, what happened once your staff and volunteers provided support AND most importantly, how they feel now, today.

To help you create engaging action-inducing stories, I’ve created a handy checklist for you to download.

Use this as a guide to make sure you share powerful, emotionally-connecting stories and not dry, uninspiring reports. Below is an excerpt Or click to download the full checklist.