Last week I had the amazing pleasure of being at the Nonprofit Storytelling conference in Seattle. It was an amazing two days of learning from some of the top fundraising and communications experts including Tom Ahern, Jeff Brooks, Michelle Brinson and many more.
As a practitioner of storytelling, it was amazing to learn SO MUCH MORE during the conference. It really was an amazing and unique experience. I have pages and pages to notes to go through, but I wanted to share a few key takeaways that I learned at the conference.
“There is something bigger than the story. Your offer.” Jeff Brooks
There is a tremendous amount of focus on the story that we want to tell, but all too often we end up missing the opportunity to make our donors a good offer. What is your offer? Your call to action!
“Use people of influence to talk about why they care about your mission.” Michelle Brinson
Did you know that Michelle writes a newsletter that raises $2m a year? So insane! She shared a number of her tips and tricks during the conference, and my favorite tip was to use stories of influencers. These stories are powerful because they allow donors to see themselves and their values in the stories.
“Tell the median story.” Andrew Means
Andrew is the best-kept secret in our sector. He is a data genius and a conversation with him will make you want to be a data genius, too! He shared that when non-profits tell outcomes stories, they have the tendency to tell the sensational, outlier story, which is not representative of the median client experience.
“Your first sentence breaks the silence of the page.” Tom Ahern
Tom shared so many gems that I could probably fill the next three months’ worth of blog posts with them! When he said this in particular though, I was reminded about just how important the first sentence of any fundraising or communications appeal is. Don’t waste the opportunity.
My session at the conference was about creating a culture of storytelling. I’m going to share a blog post on Friday with takeaways and big ideas from that session. Stay tuned!