The Business We Are In

The role of the development professional is to raise money for the organization in order for it to fulfill its mission.
But the real business we’re in is story-telling.
Donors are human, and humans connect with story.  There is the story of another. Their personal story.  And the story they can see themselves in.
In fact, more parts of the brain are being engaged through story versus fact-telling.
At our North American Donor Motivation Program Summit last week, Fraser Green talked about the importance of story-telling.
Every story has a hero and a villain.
And it’s the hero’s quest to overcome obstacles in order to arrive at the summit.
The story is full of emotion – fear, happiness, sadness, and the like.
Then, there is that pivotal moment where everything changes, which leads to the resolution and triumphal moment.
While there are facts in a story, it’s the human elements of the story that create connection.
When it comes to working with donors, there are three essential stories to tell:
  • Your Story – why you do what you do
  • The Mission Story – the quest the organization is on and why it is so important
  • Donor Story – how a similar donor found reward in making an annual, major, and planned gift.


Use story to engage the donors emotional connection with your mission and their mission.



“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”

– Roger C. Shank, Cognitive Scientist

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