The Power of a Story – part II

In the last installment, we talked about the power of storytelling.  In this edition, we’ll cover the mechanics of using storytelling to create a better fundraising page.

“The social emotional system motivates giving – it’s the engine.”  

Russell James III

This statement gives us great insight into what drives a potential donor to make a monetary gift.  Donors aren’t nearly as moved by facts and figures as they are by their own feelings.  The most effective way to encourage someone to donate is to give them a story about an individual that they can identify with and this will resonate with our donors.


4 features of a good fundraising story

  1. Provide a relatable character – that’s you!
  2. Point out a problem or conflict
  3. Resolution
  4. Call to action


Who are you?

Sharing something about yourself with donors is hugely important.  Emotional connection drives donations, and the best way to encourage an emotional response is to allow potential donors a small glimpse into your life.  Keep in mind that client sponsors are looking to support individual clients, so they want to know about each client before they select who to support.  They know that overall, they are supporting the entire NEADS organization but they also want to help clients whose stories they can relate to.


Why have you applied for a NEADS dog?

This question gives you an opportunity to tell donors about a problem in your life that they can help solve.  It’s a crucial part of your story.  This section of the story is meant to communicate to donors why you’ve applied to NEADS.  Many clients use this section to talk about how their disability impacts their life and the struggles that they face because of it.  If you’re comfortable giving specific details about this topic then feel free to do that.  This part of your story will have an emotional impact.


How is a NEADS dog going make a difference?

Here we have our resolution.  You’ve covered who you are, and what conflict you are trying to resolve. Next, you’ll want to talk about how a NEADS Service Dog is going to help you move toward that resolution.


What can others do to help?

They can donate, of course! In this last section of your story, you make a direct request to potential donors.  You outline exactly what they can do to help you get the resolution that you desire, and you make it as simple and easy as possible.  Ask them to make a donation in support of your fundraising campaign for NEADS. The donation button is directly below your story so it’s nice and easy for a potential donor to take action.  All you need to do is direct them by asking them to donate.


The power of storytelling is in its ability to allow us to feel connected with people and places that we don’t know. Telling your own personal story will always allow personal connection.  However, if you are not willing to share personal information with the public that’s okay too.  NEADS would never demand that you disclose anything that you’re not comfortable disclosing.  Allowing donors a glimpse into your life will make fundraising much more effective and successful but if you should feel that sharing your personal story isn’t something that you want to do, contact me and we will come up with other options.