There’s a handy mnemonic that’s taught to trainee journalists to help them identify a good story.

Journalists, just like fundraisers, can’t just write about what interests them, they have to focus on what will interest their readers.

As a result, the mnemonic works for us as well. When creating your next appeal, try assessing the story you choose to build it around by asking yourself if it answers the TRUTH test…

Topical – is it about something that is of current importance?

Relevant – is there an angle that you can use to make the story relevant to the donor? Can you relate the story to the donor by reminding them what they have done in the past?

Unusual – does it contain an interesting approach or present a new solution to tackling a problem?

Tension – does the story have an uncertain outcome that requires intervention by the donor to create a positive ending? Is there a clearly defined goal to reach or obstacle to overcome?

Human interest – does it focus on people rather than statistics?