Storytelling is important for major and planned gift officers because it helps move the donor through the decision-making process. Choosing the right story at the right time is essential.
So, here are 3 types of stories you should have in your back pocket with varying lengths:
NOTE: I learned this from the book “What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story.”
1. The Who I Am Story – Describes your life journey succinctly (with emotion) including the reason why you are here now, with the donor… why it matters so much… why you care… why it’s important, etc.
2. The Who I’ve Helped Story – Describes with detail (and emotion) what other donors experienced and how they benefited as a result of working with you and supporting your organization’s mission. Remember, it’s not about you! It’s about the donor and how they benefit from giving. For old time’s sake, here’s my list of why donors give.
3. The Who I Represent Story – Describes the history and mission of your organization. It might use a timeline to describe what the organization did, what it does, what it wants to do, who it helps, and why all of that is so important (and urgent).
After telling each type of story, it is important to hand control back to the donor.
Give her an opportunity to exchange her story with you. Say, “And how about you” or “What’s your story?” Listen intently and ask encouragement questions like “Can you tell me more?” “What happened next?” and “Why?”
If you are smart, you’ll recognize that this is your opportunity to collect all the information you need in order to determine what story you should tell next. That next story should move her through the decision-making process. Do this… exchange stories… and you’ll put yourself in the position to generate more major and planned gifts.
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