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Storytelling and Data. A match made in heaven.

By July 31, 2013March 5th, 2019Storytelling

Recently Nonprofit Quarterly featured this post that made my heart sing:

Do Storytelling and Data Have Chemistry in Your Fundraising World?


I have to say, storytelling combined with data… I’m in heaven.

If you are a frequent reader of this Withism’s blog you know I teach people how to share stories of impact so people take action. But as Jinna Halperin says in this post:

Stories do have limits. In this day and age there is no shortage of events pulling on people’s heartstrings.

Here’s Jinna’s spot-on definition of storytelling:

Storytelling is, itself, an art. It’s the act of highlighting a simple occurrence, statement, or activity and using it to represent something with greater significance. The goal for nonprofit storytelling is to capture a transformative incident that represents the organization’s impact on an individual or issue, and then use that specific case to highlight the group’s broader impact.

Jinna then shares why she believes data really adds power to your storytelling:

By offering supporting data, organizations demonstrate their capacity to replicate an individual story on a broader level with others in their target audience, whatever it may be.

Awhile back, in this space, I talked about using visual displays i.e. dashboards with relevant data, to cause people, especially your board to take action. In case you missed it, you can read that post here.

Data and storytelling are not two topics we often associate with each other. It seems one belongs to the realm of the creative and the other to the analytical.

As you are focused more and more on donor retention, donor acquisition, and getting people to take action… my coaching to you: use both.

When you combine data and stories in your board meetings, staff meetings, annual reports, and even your fundraising appeals you’ll engage both the head AND the heart.


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