Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from professional Storytelling Consultant and Trainer, Geoffrey Berwind. Geoffrey has created storytelling projects for historic sites and provides consulting services for leaders, entrepreneurs, speakers, and companies worldwide. He is also our special guest presenter for this month’s webinar The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need.
Stories—real-life stories—powerfully connect us to our donors because they feel that they get to know us as authentic human beings who have learned to overcome real problems—problems that they can identify with.
5 Reasons Stories Will Always Be Part of Fundraising
Why are stories such a powerful tool for nonprofits and fundraisers? Here are five reasons:
- We are hard-wired to process information through the power of story. Humans have told stories to each other for millennia. Stories uniquely trigger the ancient human muscle of the imagination and are a uniquely powerful tool to engage, influence, and move people to action.
- The idea of being story-listeners has been ingrained in us since childhood. Our early years are largely spent experiencing life through play, pretending, and exploring. Back then, we processed information through being told bedtime stories, reading fairy tales, and hearing family stories. These shaped and ingrained us with a permanent foundation as story-listeners. Therefore, we can all be storytellers and when we do so, we bring our listeners back to their natural state of receiving information.
- Storytelling is a powerful element of the right brain, engaging our emotions and experiences. Factual information, data, statistics, analytics, etc., primarily come out of the left brain. When we learn how to communicate by integrating left and right brain processing, we become very persuasive and engaging.
- When we listen to a story, our minds begin to process on a parallel track. We engage with the story being told and are immersed in the narrative…and then we begin to think about our own lives at the same time. This is because our brains are naturally looking for common ground—we naturally want to “belong.”
- People say “yes” to people they know, like, and trust. Great communicators know that human connections always come before offering advice or solutions: listen, connect first, then make the ask. The mastery of being relatable can make all the difference when you are trying to influence and persuade donors.
Are You Ready to Tell Better Stories to Inspire Donors?
You have the ability to offer ideas, solutions, and tangible outcomes by merging left-brain data with right-brain storytelling. You can also use stories to offer hope, encouragement, and inspiration—thus making a real difference to someone else’s life.
What are some other ways you’ve used storytelling as an effective part of your fundraising strategy?