We’re very excited that MiniMatters’ Elissa Leif will lead a workshop about inspired storytelling along with Kathy Swayze, President of Impact Communications, as part of Planned Giving Days 2013. As video producers we consider storytelling to be a key part of fundraising, and we have seen it be especially effective in planned giving fundraising.

PG2013 Planned Giving Is a Natural for Great Storytelling %pageStorytelling about planned giving should be part of your organization’s culture

One of the key concepts we’ll explore in the presentation is the idea of making storytelling part of your organization’s culture. The best way to find the stories that communicate the value of your organization is to always be alive to the possibilities of storytelling. Planned giving programs lend themselves to great personal stories and can get a great boost from them.

Here are some tips for storytelling that we found we share so closely with Kathy, even though we work to tell stories in different media (print vs. video):

  • Keep your eyes and ears open. Pay attention to whether a particular person who interacts with your organization might make a compelling story protagonist.
  • Interview people. Some great questions include, if our organization wasn’t here what would your life be like?  What would life be like for the next generation?  How does our organization connect with your passions?
  • Use your heart and don’t be afraid to get emotional. Stories are all about invoking emotions. If you recognize what inspires your own strong feelings, you’ll find your route to a compelling story.

Storytelling is perfect for planned giving programs

In a very real sense, stories are already a part of planned giving, as there are certainly many stories behind the profoundly emotional decisions that planned giving donors make to invest in an organization’s future. Whether you tell the story from the point of view of the person who makes the gift or the person benefits from it—or both!–you’ll have solid content with universal themes to work with. When paired with the visual impact of video, you can get a truly powerful combination.

That’s probably why some of the favorite videos we’ve made are about planned giving—because it lends itself so readily to storytelling, and because it’s wonderful to share stories connected to people’s lives and deepest wishes for making the world better.

Making storytelling a part of your culture to generate great stories is a decision to make and re-make every single day. What have you done to find a story this week? Let us know in the comments!

And watch this space for our prezi with embedded video and other details of our presentation next week, after the fact.

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