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Your Story’s Job

By September 4, 2019October 27th, 2020Storytelling

your story's job: inspire action & empathyWhat’s your story’s job? If you plan to use stories in your fundraising, board engagement, or brand awareness, it’s important to understand the answer to this question.

It’s simple: Your story’s job is to inspire action with empathy.

Sharing a list of facts is not a story. Sharing how someone feels is.

Often I’ll ask clients what they want the community to do in support of nonprofit’s mission.

Their lists are usually quite long:

• Give money

• Tell our story

• Attend events

• Volunteer

• Give more money

• Make in-kind contributions

• Bring others to our events

• And more…


To cause others to actually do something specific, YOU have to be specific.

To cause people to do something specific, you have to be specific

Here’s a before and after story to better explain:


Fortunately, he reached out for help. Once he was diagnosed with PTSD he was sent to a residential program that provided the basics of food, shelter and support. He eventually found a good job and was able to move into his own apartment. His goal is to apply to college soon.


The Army was supposed to be Miguel’s ticket to college and a better life. His parents had immigrated to the U.S. before he was born. Their passion is their son, Miguel. His passion is learning.

Miguel spent 4 long years in Iraq where he slowly felt his joy of living slip away from him. When we first met him he told us him memories of Iraq still haunt him.

He had planned to go to college and be the first in his family with a college degree. But Miguel’s mental and emotional wounds hadn’t healed. Those invisible wounds caused such a spiral for Miguel that he felt as if taking his own life would be better than living.

Fortunately, Miguel reached out for help. After the VA Hospital diagnosed him with PTSD he was sent to us to live in our VA residential care. Our staff listened and worked with Miguel as his medication began to help him.

The process of healing those invisible wounds may take a long time, but Miguel is on his way. He’s been able to feel strong enough to secure and hold a job. He’s moved into his own apartment. And he recently told our staff, “I am starting to feel hope that I can make it at college.”

It’s because you support our programs that we can say yes to veterans like Miguel. It takes just $985 a month to provide healing therapy and support for one vet. Your gift DOES make a difference.

When it’s time to share a story, remember your story’s job: Inspire action with empathy.

Make sure your story is doing its job with the Complete Storytelling System. This is a step-by-step workbook with 9 video training modules to get your team ready to be master storytelling ambassadors.

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