Stories and Science

Engaging narratives that connect with our fundamental selves are essential for our lives. Reasoned, tested science has made a good deal of modern life possible. Both have their place. The difficulty is when we confuse the when and where of their application.

As nonprofit organizations seek to elicit financial support from prospective donors, they often seek to prove their case. Inevitably that “proof” involves some sort of statistical evidence or science.

The unique fundraising idea is that well-meaning charitable organizations shouldn’t be trying to prove anything. Instead, nonprofit leaders should be focused on telling a good story.

Philanthropy is both rational and irrational—head and heart. When we consider making a charitable gift, our heart always leads, however. Once engaged in this way, our brains can process the rational “proof.”

Writing a good story that is true and convincing is hard work. It can be a lot more difficult than compiling columns of numbers through careful, but misguided, measurement.

Don’t’ fall for the conventional. Go for the unique fundraising idea: compelling stories are far more effective at engaging and keeping donors than graphs and tables, no matter how accurate.

Principle 2 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Begin at the Beginning™. Begin by carefully crafting a true narrative that will engage those from whom you hope to enlist financial support. Now there’s a unique fundraising idea.

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