Tips for Effective Storytelling to Create & Build Connections

The four most powerful words in the English language are “Once Upon A Time,” according to Matt Glass, partner and chief creative officer of Eventage during Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council’s November webinar, “The Art of Storytelling.” Glass focused on how telling effective and powerful stories can help thon fundraisers create and build valuable connections.

To watch a recording of the full webinar, please click here .

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication. Good stories are powerful and make big issues more human. For charitable organizations, stories help people understand what you do and what they can do to help.

For organizations that raise money through athletic events, there are many channels in which stories can be incorporated including in-person gatherings, such as orientation, internal meetings and trainings; social media; e-communications or newsletters; advertising; and as part of thank you notes.

During the webinar, Glass outlined “Ten Tips for Effective Storytelling”
  • Differentiate your organization’s efforts by being specific and sharing what makes your organization unique. Avoid overused clichés including “making a difference” and make sure you are not using bland descriptions.
  • Tell emotional short stories that emphasize how the storyteller felt – how something affected their life. Don’t lose people by drowning them in data.
  • Find your hook – and use it to engage your listeners. The hook, which might be an anecdote or small, interesting fact, is the unexpected part of your story that makes it stand out.
  • Tell symmetrical stories by starting with something at the beginning (e.g., the hook) and then come back to it at the end by using similar language and cadence. Think about how to make the audience smile.
  • Tell all kinds of stories by varying the type and subject in the story.
  • Write, edit, write and edit again. Ensure that the writing is telling the story that you want to tell.
  • Connect every story to your cause and make sure that listeners understand how that story connects to your organization’s need for more registrations, your fundraising efforts, and other organizational initiatives.
  • Focus on inspiration and hope, recognizing the fine line between drama and depressing. Use stories to uplift and fire up your audience – especially at events.
  • Make it a serial by following up and finishing stories. If you introduce your community to a person facing a challenge or hardship, keep in touch and see how their story ends.
  • Recognize and thank those in your stories appropriately. Remember that ultimately it is their story and there is a level of trust when your organization is allowed to use that story. Make sure you tell the story correctly and appropriately – and thank them for their willingness to share.
A full recording of this webinar is available free. Please click here to listen.