Donors need motivating, and great storytelling is a rather effective technique to cut through jargon, bringing visions and missions to life.

Through using great stories, we get people giving and doing.

And if you’d like to improve your storytelling skills, I’d recommend you addResonate by Nancy Duarte to your reading list.

Though Resonate is primarily about creating better presentations, it’s packed full of great advice that will help you achieve your communication goals – whatever your choice of media.

It takes a very audience-centric approach, and one quote in particular stood out for me:

“You are not the hero who will save the audience, the audience is your hero.”

It’s exactly how we should look at fundraising.

We might like to think of ourselves as the ones who are changing the world, but when it comes down to it, the donor is actually making our work possible by ensuring we have the resources to achieve our goals.

As a result, they are the heroes.

We may have the expertise, the experience and the knowledge to achieve our mission, but our organisational goals are bigger than we are. Without our donors, we are going to struggle and fail.

Nancy includes a great quote from screenwriter, Chad Hodge who believes that to communicate effectively we need to ensure people…

“see themselves as the hero of the story, whether the plot involves beating the bad guys or achieving some great business objective. Everyone wants to be the star, or at least to feel that the story is talking to or about him personally.”

As fundraisers, we need to understand this. We are Yoda, setting targets, offering guidance, giving advice. Our donors are like Luke Skywalker battling the dark side of The Force.

They want the cures for diseases, the end to poverty and cruelty. Our job is to show them the way and, most importantly, recognise their role and reward them for it by demonstrating their impact through the stories we share with them.

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With thanks to Nancy again.