Stories are how humans learn and make connections. A simple story can motivate someone to action by bringing people and situations to life, making your mission more than an abstract idea.

The tips below will help you reap the benefits of storytelling:

Practice storytelling: Spend a little time at each board or staff meeting talking about recent successes and experiences serving beneficiaries.

Create a story collection form: Provide those that work with your beneficiaries an easy way to contribute stories. Ask open-ended questions, collect contact information, and be sure to ask permission to print.

Select your system: Your storage system should keep content organized and readily accessible. A paper system will work, but you’ll earn yourself bonus points for using something that allows searches. Speaking of…

Consider a taxonomy: A way to tag and organize stories will help you retrieve them more quickly and you’ll be able to find the perfect quote for that appeal letter too!

Keep it current: Make it a policy to review the stories once a year and get in touch with the person central to the story (if possible) for an update. It’s also a good opportunity to verify accuracy and add key details.

Below are some prompting questions to inspire your next story interview.

  1. Tell me about what problem this program/service solves?
  2. Can you tell me about a specific person who has used this program?
  3. What was their life like before they began working with you?
  4. Now that they’ve gone through this program, what’s their life like? What is their outlook for the future?
  5. What was most surprising to you about ___?
  6. Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
  7. Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of? Why?
  8. What inspires you?
  9. What was it like before ___?
  10. What was the biggest challenge you were facing?
  11. What did you do to try to solve this challenge on your own?
  12. What would you say to someone considering ____?
  13. What do you think other people should know about this organization?
  14. How has this changed you?
  15. How did it feel when. . . ?

Do you need help with your messaging when it comes to fundraising? Contact us! Our tailored consulting and advising services offer expert, affordable support that provides focus and momentum to move your organization to the next level of success. To get started, visit our advising page to fill out a contact form.