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Storytelling webinar final


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Presentation that accompanies the paper "Storytelling and the Art of Email Writing" written by Colin Holtz and Steve Daigneault.

Download the paper at

Published in: Self Improvement, Spiritual
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Storytelling webinar final

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Who We Are<br />Colin Holtz<br />Steve Daigneault<br />
  3. 3.
  4. 4. Version 1: Institutional approach outlining accomplishments and need.<br />Version 2: Story of one young person diagnosed with a debilitating disease.<br />
  5. 5. Version 1 raised…<br />…more than version 2<br />4x<br />
  6. 6. For a national civil rights organization, the story version lost by 25%<br />For an international aid organization, there was no statistical difference<br />In countless other cases, story-based appeals have under-performed industry and client benchmarks<br />
  7. 7. Science tells us <br />stories are powerful…<br />… so what’s <br />going on?<br />
  8. 8.
  9. 9. Two Types of Stories:<br />1) Stories that explain<br />2) Stories that compel<br />
  10. 10. Stories that Explain<br />+<br />
  11. 11. 1) Grab the reader’s attention<br />Nesting season for sea turtles is always fraught with danger from threats like entanglement in fishing gear and habitat degradation. But this year, sea turtles must also face the fallout from the worst oil spill in history.<br />Getting caught in fishing gear is bad enough. But this year, sea turtles faced a much more horrifying threat: Dirty, sticky oil from the worst spill in history.<br />
  12. 12. 2) Replace statistics<br />In the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan, hundreds of thousands of children are without food, unable to access emergency supplies without help from an adult.<br />When you’re a starving child, it’s nearly impossible to fight through a crowd of adults. Right now in Pakistan, that’s the only ways to get food – so thousands of children are going hungry.<br />
  13. 13. 3) Put a human face on work<br />UNICEF provides water sanitation tablets to decrease the threat of waterborne illness and provide clean drinking water to thousands of children.<br />When children are thirsty, it doesn’t matter if a river is clouded and polluted, they’ll drink from it. UNICEF’s simple solutions like clean water tablets make it easy for children to access clean water anywhere, anytime.<br />
  14. 14. 4) Build your org’s credibility<br />We are the nation’s longest-standing faith advocacy organization and have a Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating.<br />When Glenn Beck puts you “on notice,” you know you must be doing something right…<br />
  15. 15. Explaining stories don’t,<br /> by themselves, <br />compel readers to act.<br />
  16. 16. Why do people give?<br /> “You’ll not only fund our work – you’ll know you changed a life”<br /> “Give today to become a member and get insider info and updates.”<br /> “We saved the savannah elephant . We can save the Asian elephant too.”<br /> “From Martha L., a grandmother in Tennessee to Jim T., a construction worker in Florida, Americans everywhere have already committed to our fight.”<br /> To be happy<br /> To feel important<br /> To be part of a success story<br /> Because everyone’s doing it<br />
  17. 17. “<br />What if every week were an incredible week? A week when you felt meaning and purpose. A week when you knew you were literally changing the world for the better.<br />That’s what it’s like for U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s monthly Pledge Donors. Every month, they support UNICEF’s programs with a modest amount. And in return, they can be confident that with less than a dollar a day, they’re saving innocent, vulnerable children from pain and suffering.<br />”<br />
  18. 18. “<br />Will you sit back and let climate deniers and oil companies destroy this biologically rich, environmentally-fragile, crown jewel of our refuge system?<br />”<br />
  19. 19. “<br />In the dead of the night last Thursday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed Gov. Walker’s disastrously anti-worker budget. The vote lasted mere seconds – and 28 pro-worker legislators never even had a chance to cast a vote.<br />But it’s not over. That night, the halls of the State Capitol were still filled with protestors chanting “Hell no, we won’t go!” We’re not going anywhere either – because this fight is bigger than just Wisconsin. <br />Governors in a handful of states are already planning their own Walker-like attacks on nurses, firefighters, teachers, and other critical employees. This fight belongs to all of us now, and we don’t have a second to lose.<br />”<br />
  20. 20.
  21. 21. People give because doing so <br />offers them a chance <br />to write their own story <br />– and join in a shared story.<br />
  22. 22. From: Mary Bailey<br />Subject: George needs your help<br />Friend –<br />My husband George has almost given up on life.<br />He needs to realize there’s hope for the future.<br />Can I count on you to donate $5 to help pay his debt? <br />If everyone chips in a little, his money problems will be gone – and he’ll know just how loved he is. <br />He’s on the bridge over the river this moment, so we don’t have any time to lose.<br />Donate now.<br />Make donors the hero<br />
  23. 23. Recommendations<br />Use stories to explain<br />Make your supporter the hero of the lede<br />Make supporters as a whole the heroes of the overall email<br />
  24. 24. If you remember one thing:<br />“Your organization is not the hero. The donor is thehero.”<br />
  25. 25. 8 Questions<br />to Ask Yourself<br />
  26. 26. 1.<br />What am I trying to achieve?<br />
  27. 27. 2.<br />Would I share this story whether or not it’s in an email?<br />
  28. 28. 3.<br />Is your story about how awesome you are, or how awesome your donor is?<br />
  29. 29. 4.<br />Is there unresolved tension in the story?<br />
  30. 30. 5.<br />Is there a credible role for your reader?<br />
  31. 31. 6.<br />What would happen if your supporters disappeared at this moment?<br />
  32. 32. 7.<br />Is this a “can’t miss” part of the movie?<br />
  33. 33. 8.<br />Would this story makes sense if you told it a year ago, or a year from now?<br />
  34. 34. Q & A<br />
  35. 35. Contact Us:<br />Colin Holtz<br /><br />Steve Daigneault<br /><br />Read more at:<br />