14 Tips for Great Nonprofit Storytelling

Here are some tips to help you tell better stories.

  1. Start strong, fast and end big. You only have a few seconds to hook your reader.
  2. Appeal to the heart. Tap into people’s emotions.
  3. Exercise brutal efficiency. Cut out the deadwood.
  4. Read your story aloud multiple times. Listen carefully to where your story flows and where you might stumble.
  5. Use short powerful sentences and a conversational tone to engage the reader.
  6. Avoid jargon, acronyms and lots of statistics.
  7. Determine your takeaway message. What action do you want to inspire?
  8. Good stories are about challenges and conflict. Start with a person and his or her challenge.
  9. Write and rewrite.
  10. Use rich vivid language and give a sense of time and place.
  11. Remember the story arc and pull people along to build tension.
  12. Consider using a powerful image to support your story.
  13. Make it real. Allow the person in your story to have a real name, age, and above all to speak for himself or herself.
  14. Make the donor the ultimate hero of your story.