Storytelling revisited: A white paper worth reading

M+R has lots of smart people on their team, so I always get excited when they release new studies and research. Their recent white paper on storytelling is a case in point.

Do we really need yet another piece about storytelling and fundraising? Yes, we do.

The tests they’ve run call into question the effectiveness of the usual “Let me tell you about this 10-year-old who needs your help” stories. (Uh oh. Over at Project Create, we just finished our annual appeal letter, and it features this kind of story…) I thought these didn’t work on me because I’m hard-hearted, but the results show that I’m not alone.

Instead, the authors draw our attention to using storytelling in different ways. Stories can help illuminate statistics, make your work real and show how your donors’ support matters. Like this:

When children are thirsty, it doesn’t matter if a river is clouded and polluted, they’ll drink from it. UNICEF’s simple solutions like clean water tablets make it easy for children to access clean water anywhere, anytime.

This is changing my thinking about some slide shows and landing pages we’re working on right now at EDF. The full white paper includes lots more examples. Enjoy!