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Why stories are so powerful in your fundraising

Do you always have a great story, fresh and ready to share with your donors?

It's understandable if you don't; you’re the head of your organization, or focused more on fundraising, and less connected to the people you serve or just too busy.

Besides that, your team aren’t great about sharing success stories with you, even when you ask.

Even so, you must agree that great fundraising really happens when we tell great stories.

Stories have the ability to connect people to your project and organization in a way that facts and statistics never can.

A great story is a doorway to experience the magic of what you do. And through them, your donors will resonate so much more with you and your cause.

Why is storytelling such a powerful tool in fundraising?

A Princeton University study found that when you listen to a well-told story, the parts of the brain that respond are the same as those that would respond if you were actually there.

In this research, Professor Uri Hasson studied people connected to an MRI machine while they listened to a story.

What they found was unbelievable.

If a storyteller describes an experience like basking in the sun or smelling freshly baked bread, the listener’s olfactory cortex lights up.

When they describe throwing a football, their motor cortex responds, specifically the part associated with hand and arm movement.

The research found that this effect also happens to the person telling the story.

So, as the story is being told, both the storyteller and the listener’s brains start lighting up in sync with one another!

This is the powerful connection we feel when listening to a well-told story. Our bodies are designed to react at a molecular level!

Consider the effect this can have when fundraising.

When you tell a story, your listener’s brain responds as if he is inside the story. And he will feel a powerful connection to you, the storyteller.

So what do you want to do about this?

First thing is to have stories to tell. Be a story collector. Look for stories that happen every day in your organization.

That’s step one.

Step two, which I’ll share more about in a future post, will be to hone your story telling muscles to tell great stories.

You donors will value it. And you and your organization will benefit.

Happy StoryRaising! B’Hatzlacha Raba,


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