TOOL KIT
October 27, 2015

Good Storytelling: an Overview of the Basics for Fundraising and Advocacy

Great storytelling captures people’s attention and drives them to action. When facts and characters, logic and emotion, and cause and effect work together artfully, the resulting stories affect us in a deep way.

As data take on a larger role in nonprofit communications, many groups have realized that stories bring the numbers to life, and together they powerfully convey a group’s impact.

"The stories are really what make the data matter," says Connie French, director of communications and marketing for Health Leads, a Boston charity that recruits college-student volunteers to help low-income people connect with social services. "Percentages and numbers don’t really mean anything until you see them through the lens of something like a child suffering with asthma."

In the articles and resources below, you can find expert advice for collecting, telling, distributing, and measuring the effectiveness of your organization’s stories.

Article
November 03, 2014

Strength in Storytelling

A renewed focus on an age-old method of motivating people to take action yields impressive results, and some big names are taking notice.

Article
August 14, 2014

Are You Really Telling Stories?

A story has to have a protagonist who wants something and who faces obstacles—and it has to have an ending.

Article
July 23, 2014

4 Essential Elements of Storytelling

Practice, consider your audience, and other tips for telling stories that will bring about change.

Article
July 02, 2014

Don't Tell a Boring Story

Learn how to connect with your listeners, even on complicated issues, and make them feel empowered to help.

Article
August 06, 2014

4 Questions to Develop Your Storytelling Strategy

Ask yourself what you want to achieve, who can help you, and how you can reach and appeal to your audience.

Article
December 10, 2014

How a Hero Can Save the Day—and Rally Support

Two groups share lessons in how to tell stories about people fighting for change.

Checklist
May 13, 2015

7 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit’s Storytelling Stronger

Choose creative narratives, avoid jargon, and provide a firsthand perspective to make your stories resonate with supporters.

Article
July 30, 2014

How to Turn Audience Emotion Into Action

Make sure your listeners can see themselves in the story, helping to solve the problem, then give them a way to get involved immediately.

Article
March 18, 2015

3 Tips for Telling Stories That Move People to Action

Using data alone — or telling stories that focus just on an individual — can backfire. Here are better ways to frame a story that can change people’s minds.

Article
July 16, 2014

Reaching New Audiences Through Storytelling

Advice for doing more than just "preaching to the choir" with your message.

Article
July 09, 2014

Balance Small Wins and Long-Term Goals in Your Storytelling

Share your victories, but don't focus on them so much that your audience loses the big picture.

Article
February 17, 2015

In Storytelling, Focusing on Solutions, Not Problems

Some groups are adopting a storytelling genre that focuses on how communities rebuild and recover after natural disasters and other difficult times.

Article
August 27, 2014

Technology, Imagination, and Organizing With Storytelling

In the final Storytelling Summer post, two questions on how people tell and consume stories now—and why a strong story transcends medium.

Article
October 08, 2014

Lessons in Nonprofit Storytelling From a Live Performance

Stories don’t have to be told through short online videos. There’s something powerful in hearing a story unmediated and straight from the source.

Article
August 20, 2014

Navigating Privacy and Other Issues for Ethical Storytelling

Advice for protecting the people you serve while telling their stories and determining who "controls" a story.

Article
June 25, 2015

Advice: How Do You Know Your Stories Are Making a Difference?

Active Voice Lab helps artists and advocates figure out what’s working and what isn’t.