Sanford Institute of Philanthropy Blog

How to Use Stories from Your Nonprofit to Enhance Your Writing

Storytelling in Nonprofits
Grammar and syntax are all important parts of writing, but overall, the most important part of writing is to hone in on the stories that are most important to tell. 

Becoming a great storyteller takes consistent practice, and it takes an ability to be open and vulnerable about your organization. The key to telling your nonprofit’s story is to know your organization inside and out. What are some hopeful stories you can share with your readers? What challenges or issues are you trying to solve? What makes your nonprofit different from others with the same cause? In other words, why should donors invest in your cause and your organization specifically? Telling a story is an impactful way to reach your audience through emotion. By appealing to their intrinsic values, you have a greater opportunity of standing out in their minds when they’re getting ready to donate. 

This is not to say that you should fill your writing with fluff and unnecessary words. In fact, as English author Henry Green once said, “The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” All he meant is that oftentimes, we can say what we need to say more effectively if we are clear, concise, and to the point. Our readers are interested in hearing what we have to say, whether it’s a post on LinkedIn, a speech, or an email, but we need to respect their time and attention by telling the story without superfluous details. 

If you’re having trouble telling your organization’s story, consider trying to understand how you fit into your nonprofit and how you have seen your organization contribute to its overall cause. A nonprofit means a lot to the group it serves, but it also means a lot to its employees and volunteers. Some of the best stories can come from your colleagues or volunteer team or even from you. So I encourage you to talk with those in your organization and see what kind of stories you can track down. You can even speak with donors to learn more about how the organization has touched their hearts or why they felt compelled to donate to your nonprofit in the first place. Don’t get too bogged down in extra, minute details, but tell these stories honestly and focus on the parts that matter, the parts that truly represent the heart of your organization.


Want to learn more about boosting fundraising efforts in your nonprofit organization? Check out the rest of our blog posts to learn more about donor stewardship, monthly giving, and more!

View Our Blog



Discover more about the author,