PRO TIPS | Storytelling—Use Different Perspectives

publication date: Aug 23, 2023
author/source: Rachel Zant

If your donors are used to hearing from the same person in every email or letter you send to them, (cough cough, like your CEO or your Executive Director, cough cough!) why not try something a bit different?

I don’t know about you, but the stories I love to read are the ones told from multiple points of view, sharing each character’s journey and perspective. And that’s how I like to approach storytelling for nonprofits.

You may already have a good story you’d like to use for your next direct mail appeal. Now, take a moment to think about the voices or points of view you could use to make this story even more interesting for the reader.

For example, if you work for a hospital foundation, you could share a story from the perspective of a grateful patient. But you could also share the same story from the perspective of the doctor or nurse who cared for that patient, or from their spouse, child or parent. Or, really thinking outside the box, how about from the perspective of the equipment used to treat that patient?

You could even share one or two of these perspectives in the same appeal, using a lift note or an insert, for example. Or, you could share an alternative perspective in a follow-up appeal. There are loads of options!

For best results, you should have a personal face-to-face (or phone or zoom) interview with your storytellers. I have been known to use some creative license when an interview isn’t possible (like with a piece of equipment, wink, wink!), but a good old fashioned human conversation will always produce the best results.

I’ve used this same technique for many different types of nonprofits – and it works! I encourage you to take some time to think about who else can tell your organization’s unique story in a way that appeals to donors.

Rachel Zant is a writer and fundraiser who has been helping nonprofits connect authentically with their donors for more than 20 years. Connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her website,

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