The Power of Storytelling: 4 Weeks to Engage Board and Staff as Passionate Fundraisers

Is your non-profit desperately looking for ways to increase your fundraising revenue?

Do you wish you had a magic bullet that would make fundraising a whole lot more comfortable?

Are you tired of feeling that folks just don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to the importance of your organization’s work?

Do you want help learning to persuade donors to join you in your mission?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then I’ve got a simple solution for you.


People are not inspired to act by reason alone. No kidding. Yet storytelling is simple. It’s easy. It gets right to the heart of the matter. Telling your audience stories is the most powerful way to engage them emotionally and persuade them to jump right into the story with you to help create the happily ever after.

Tired of feeling like fundraising is the last thing you want to do? I invite you to join me for the next four weeks on a storytelling journey that will transform your fundraising – making it more effective and a lot more fun!

Storytelling E-Course Cover

Why is Storytelling So Important?

Storytelling fulfills a profound human need to grasp the patterns of living—not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience. It turns out we’re wired that way, and lots of research backs this up. When it comes to persuading folks to donate to your cause it’s best done by storytelling. Not data. Not random content. Storytelling is what makes your content meaningful at a visceral level.  Data has its place, but it’s the poor relation to storytelling.

And storytelling does it all. It can capture attention and engage new folks online. It can educate folks who know you and get them a whole lot more interested in what you do. It can engage folks to become actively involved with you. And, ultimately, it can persuade folks to invest with you philanthropically.

Think about the very best ads you’ve ever seen.  Think about the super bowl ads.  Think about Hallmark ads.  Stories.

Think about what causes you to root for an Olympic athlete you’ve never heard of until five minutes ago? Stories.

 Think about what causes you to make a gift to a terminally ill child whose greatest wish is to be Bat Kid for a day. Stories.

The best news of all – storytelling does not have to difficult!

Ready to Start Telling Stories and Raise More Money for Your Cause?

Good! Because…

Persuasion is the centerpiece of business activity. People must be convinced to embrace your mission, sign up for your program, buy your service, attend your event, volunteer or donate. But despite the critical importance of persuasion, most nonprofits (and for-profits too!) struggle to communicate, let alone inspire. Too often, they get lost in companyspeak: PowerPoint slides, dry memos, pie charts and all sorts of hyperbolic “we’re great” (and who cares about you) missives from the marketing department.

There’s a lot of competition for donors today.   How are you going to stand out and grab folks’ attention? One of the best ways to do so is with your unique, compelling stories. But what’s the best way to do that?

Storytelling may sound intuitive, but we’ve been trained to ignore our intuitions. It turns out there’s a lot of art, science and calculated effort that goes into an effective storytelling game plan. This course will show you, step-by-step, how to put in place a strategic system that will develop into a natural practice of consistently collecting and sharing your most compelling stories.  The ones that will resonate with your audience. The ones that will move them to action.

Plus storytelling will stand you in good stead for all of your fundraising and marketing strategies. Annual giving, major giving, events, grant proposals, appeal letters, newsletters… you name it!

Why is Persuasion and Setting Folks on Fire So Difficult?

We’re getting a group of donors together for a house party, so I’d like you to prepare a Power Point.

 I need you to prepare my speech for the Gala, so make sure you give me some good statistics and some authoritative quotes I can use.

Does this sound familiar?

Too often you try to persuade folks with facts and rhetoric. It’s an intellectual process where you say “Here’s our biggest challenge and here’s what we need to do to overcome it.” The problem is that people will counter with their own facts and rhetoric. They think too much and feel too little.

The better way to persuade people—and ultimately a much more powerful way—is to engage their hearts with a story. It’s an emotional process where you not only weave a lot of information into the telling but you also arouse your listener’s passions and imagination.

Storytelling is beautifully suited to fundraising because a good story expresses how and why life changes. That’s why your nonprofit exists. To change people’s lives. To repair the world.

Your success or failure will depend on what you make people feel, and we feel something when we connect with a story. When we connect with a story, we want to share that with our friends, family and the rest of the world. This course will teach you how to help people connect with your cause through the power of storytelling.

What’s in this Course?

Every Tuesday, you will receive (by e-mail) a comprehensive class guide covering that week’s topic. You can read the guides on your computer, smartphone, tablet or e-reader, or print them out to read at your convenience.

The process is broken into segments so it’s easy for you to manage – and less overwhelming than a workshop or conference. It includes written content, pre-recorded webinars to enjoy at your convenience and a variety of hands-on materials to guide you incrementally towards your goal – raising more money!

Each guide is 20-30 pages and presents everything you need to know to supercharge your storytelling efforts. You’ll find this course to be more robust than many others out there, with plenty of practical tips, worksheets, exercises and checklists to reinforce your learning and serve as handy tools this year and in the future.

The amount of information and specific examples to support it were so useful. We followed the advice carefully, step by step. Appreciated the detailed resources and extra bonus materials. Thanks so much!

I  walked away with a long list of things to do. Your materials were written very sympathetically for your audience — they are accessible, practical, and easy to reference.   The phasing of the material was perfect, and the homework was just right.

The Course Modules: The Power of Storytelling

Here are the weekly course modules you’ll receive:

March 25 Week 1: How Fundraising is Storytelling

  • · 3 Reasons Boards Loathe Fundraising
  • · What Boards Need to Overcome the Fear and Loathing
  • · What Staff Need to Set Boards up for Happily Ever After
  • · How to Stop Being a “Well-Kept Secret”
  • · Engaging with Your Own Passionate Story
  • · How to Connect Organizational Values to Your Story

Bonus 60 Minute Podcast – Teaching Your Board that Fundraising is Storytelling – Vanessa Chase interviews Claire Axelrad

April 1 Week 2: How to Create a Powerful Storytelling Culture

  • · What’s So Important About the Story?
  • · How do you Collect Compelling Stories?
  • · How to Collect Story Leads without Feeling Like a Nag
  • · Tips to Organize Your Leads + Story Collection Template
  • · 25 Tips to Make Your Stories Unforgettable
  • · You’re Known by the Stories You Tell: What’s Gripping about Your Organization’s Story?
  • · Creating Your Story Bank

Bonus 60 Minute Webinar: Storytelling 101 – How to Transform Your Non-Profit Into A Storytelling Non-Profit, Vanessa Chase

April 8 Week 3: How to Tell Your Spellbinding Story with Aplomb

  • · 15 Actionable Storytelling Tips
  • · Story Archetypes – 4 common characters + 6 common plotlines
  • · 6 Elements of a Compelling Story that Resonates
  • · Heart over Head: Journey from Thinking to Feeling
  • · How to Evoke Emotion
  • · How to Choose the Right Emotions
  • · Where to Tell Your Stories

Bonus: It’s a SURPRISE!

 April 15 Week 4: How to Bring Your Donor into the Story

  • · Who Cares about the Story, and Why?
  • · What Connects Folks to Different Stories?
  • · How to Bring Your Stories to Life
  • · How Can Board Effectively Share the Story – Yours and Theirs?
  • · How to Turn Your Stories into Action
  • · Why Your Story Never Ends (well, hardly ever!)

Bonus: We’re working on some great surprises – we love them!

Who is This Course For?

The Power of Storytelling is for both new and seasoned development pros who want to know how to strengthen, and simplify, their comprehensive communications and fundraising strategies.  Executive Directors, board members and even program directors will also receive a lot of value from taking this course as their roles involve them talking about your non-profit to the community.

Even better? You can register as many individuals from your organization as you’d like – at no additional fee. That way everyone, from your ED to your board members, will truly be on board with what it takes to develop a successful storytelling culture that will boost your fundraising success over time. Don’t miss this unique class!

Learn at Your Own Pace, at Your Convenience

One of the best things about this course is that you can read the guides and listen to the podcasts/webinars from the comfort of your home or office.  Though the modules are delivered weekly – and spaced out so as not to be overwhelming (like a full one-day conference might be) — you don’t have to read or listen to them at an assigned time.

And all the materials are yours to keep!  So even if you can’t get through them all immediately, you can use them whenever you have the time and/or inclination. And you can share them with future employees and volunteers as well.

Learn From Seasoned Storytellers

This course is taught by me and the queen of storytelling, Vanessa Chase, founder of The Storytelling Nonprofit. You’re in for a real treat.

claireClaire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE, has helped nonprofits raise hundreds of millions over a career inspiring volunteers and professionals to implement innovative fundraising and marketing strategies that advance the mission, vision and values of causes addressing society’s most pressing problems. Named Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Claire teaches the CFRE course that certifies professional fundraisers. Her blog was recently named “Top Fundraising Blog” by Fundraising Success and she is a regular contributor to Maximize Social Business and Fundraising Success Magazine.

Photo on 13-09-08 at 4.39 PM #3Vanessa Chase is a well-known non-profit consultant and the founder of The Storytelling Non-Profit. She has worked with organizations worldwide to reinvigorate their fundraising capacity, and is an expert in non-profit communications and storytelling. To date she has raised over $10 million for her clients.

Together, Claire and Vanessa want to help your non-profit tell stories that move and inspire your donors to become major lifelong supporters of your organization.

What Does It Cost?

This course costs $117– a great value for 4 weeks of materials, 2 bonus webinars, who knows how many additional bonuses (we love surprises!) and direct email access to Claire and Vanessa. We truly want you to succeed, and we’re dedicated to helping you throughout the course.

The webinars alone are worth the price of the course. Email access to two pros is worth the price of the course. One week’s curriculum is worth the price of the course – and you get four! Add in all… you’re getting more than you’d get at a conference that could cost you much, much more. Yet you get to learn in the comfort of your own home, office or favorite cafe.  And the notes are already taken for you! Pretty swell, no? This price is significantly less than just one hour of consulting time.


Register Now – You’ll love it! Yet if you’re not satisfied for any reason, simply let me know. I’m pretty nice.


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