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It's not you. It's your stories.


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It's not you. It's your stories.

  1. 1. It’s not you. It’s yourstories.Why fundraisers are failing atstorytelling and what they need tochange.#12NTCNPStorySue CitroSteve Daigneault
  2. 2. Evaluate This Session!Each entry is a chance to win an NTEN engraved iPad! INSERT QR CODE HEREor Online at
  3. 3. Version 1: Institutional approach outlining accomplishments and need.Version 2: Story of one young person diagnosed with a debilitating disease.
  4. 4. Version 1 raised… …more than version 2
  5. 5. For a national civil rights organization, the story version lost by 25%For an international aid organization, there was no statistical differenceIn countless other cases, story-based appeals have under-performed industry and client benchmarks
  6. 6. Science tells usstories are powerful… ̶ They are universal ̶ Mirror human thought ̶ Shape our identities ̶ Define our social community…so what’s going on?
  7. 7. Two Types of Stories: 1) Stories that explain 2) Stories that compel
  8. 8. Stories that Explain +
  9. 9. Explaining stories don’t, by themselves, compel readers to act.
  10. 10. Why do people give?1. “You’ll not onlylife” our work – you’ll know To changed a fund you be happy2. “Give todayand updates.” To feel importantmember and get insider info to become a3. “We be Asian savannahtoo.” To saved the elephant elephant . story save the part of a success We can4. “From Marthaeveryone’s doing it Because JimaT., a construction worker Tennessee to L., grandmother in in Florida, Americans everywhere have already committed to our fight.”
  11. 11. Stories that Compel
  12. 12. Putting This Info Practice:The Nature Conservancy’s Story on Storytelling…
  13. 13. What I’ve Learned:Just like U2, I Still Haven’t FoundWhat I’m Looking for….
  14. 14. We’ve Made ProgressBEFORE:The Nature Conservancys efforts to preserve the diversity of life on Earth depends solely on the support of its members.AFTER:Becoming a member can put you at the center of critical conservation projects underway all across the globe.
  15. 15. 100s of Examples... …No Magic Bullet
  16. 16. You’ll Need More Than 1 Story
  17. 17. Cialdini’s 6 Principles
  18. 18. Great Story for Gen Y(Share w/Friends – Tension – Hero – If you don’t do it…)
  19. 19. Great Story for Middle Donors(Share w/Friends – Tension – Hero – If you don’t do it…) Giving up 40%
  20. 20. You Must Let Go of Your Story…
  21. 21. The Story is Just the Beginning…Ultimately, you’re building a relationshipand that will never change.
  22. 22. Tips +Gut Checks
  23. 23. Details matterUse rich details to make your story feel credible.Try using sensory details about how it looks, smells, feels, sounds, or tastes.
  24. 24. Details matter“He’s only one-and-a-half, but Abdirizaq’s hair has turned almost white.”“It comes in easy to hold, crinkly foil packets that kids can use to feed themselves.”
  25. 25. Use the right “we”Use “we” or “us” to refer to both your organization & supporters – not just your organization working alone.
  26. 26. Use the right “we”“It’s a team effort. It has to be, if we’re going to put people back on their feet — build clean water systems, teach farmers better ways to grow food...”
  27. 27. Create a donor identityExplain who your donor is – why they are special.Frame “giving” as a chance to be that kind of person.
  28. 28. Create a donor identity“A gift to WCS is something much bigger than one donation –Its a signal that you believe in a future where tigers, elephants, and gorillas still roam free – and that such a future is worth fighting for.”
  29. 29. Make the consequences clearExplain the consequences of the donor’s choice to give or not.They have a choice to become a hero – or not.
  30. 30. Make the consequences clear“Millions of other children with special needs are hoping for a story like Shannons – but right now, their fates hang in the balance.Will you let them continue down the path to an uncertain future…or will you step in and help?”
  31. 31. 3 Quick Gut-Check Questions
  32. 32. 1. Would I share this story whether or not it’s in an email?
  33. 33. 2. Is your story about how awesome you are, or how awesome your donor is?
  34. 34. 3. Is there unresolved tension in the story? Is there a role for the reader?
  35. 35. Q&A
  36. 36. Contact Us:Sue Citro – @suecitroscitro@tnc.orgSteve Daigneaultsdaigneault@mrss.comRead more at: