Storytelling: The Secret Sauce of Fundraising Success


Storytelling: The Secret Sauce of Fundraising Success

With the right recipe, storytelling can be the secret sauce of fundraising success. In the chapters of Storytelling: The Secret Sauce of Fundraising Success, you'll taste and enjoy what it takes to become a storytelling gourmet!

Stories have been written, printed, blogged, shared, discussed, debated, and passed down through the generations. Why? Because people have an incredible appetite for stories. Stories trigger a physical response in the same way a delicious meal satisfies.

Nonprofit organizations have amazing stories to share — stories of perseverance, fortitude, and generosity.

Stories give nonprofits a way to stand out in a world that gets noisier every day, where people are looking for ways to find meaning and connection.

Great stories engage donors and raise more money. Scientific evidence confirms good storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to engage stakeholders and influence behavior. Stories raise awareness, change behavior, and trigger generosity. Facts and logic are not nearly as persuasive as a good story. Stories penetrate our natural defense systems and become more compelling and memorable. As a result, great stories can be very powerful.

But what makes a great story? What ingredients engage the audience and have an impact? What flavors will spark the appetite and make the mouth water? There are some ingredients that are essential. You just can’t make a good sauce (or gravy as my grandfather called it) without tomatoes.

Like a good meal, storytelling can be delicious if it is executed with a bit of strategy. It requires planning the meal, choosing and collecting the right ingredients, and then sharing the meal with the right people, in the right setting, and at the right time.

With the right recipes, you will use stories to engage stakeholders and increase gifts to your organization. In the chapters of Storytelling: The Secret Sauce of Fundraising Success, you will find the recipes to become a storytelling gourmet!


Table of Contents



Chapter One
The Menu: Introduction to Delicious Stories

Chapter Two
The Recipe for the Secret Sauce: Key Ingredients for a Good Story

Chapter Three
Shopping for the Perfect Ingredients: Finding Your Stories

Chapter Four
Serving up the Entrée: Sharing Your Stories

Chapter Five
Variations on the Recipe: Adding Spice to Your Stories

Chapter Six
The Side Dishes: The Many Ways Stories Can Be Served

Chapter Seven
The Kitchen Mishap: Navigating Change with Storytelling

Chapter Eight
The Dessert: Sweet Success Stories

Check Please! Summary and Additional Resources

Appendix A
Story Collection Form

Appendix B
Sample Consent Form

Appendix C
Storytelling Culture Assessment Form

Appendix D

About the Author

Lynn Malzone Ierardi, JD

Lynn Malzone Ierardi, JD

Lynn Malzone Ierardi, JD has been in the gift and estate planning field for more than thirty years. She is a leader in the charitable planning community. Lynn was elected Chair of the Board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) after serving terms as Treasurer and Chair-elect. She has been a member of CGP since 1993 and is a member of the CGP Leadership Institute.

She is a past board member, conference chair, and past President of the New Jersey Council of Charitable Gift Planners, a current board member of the Planned Giving Council of Greater Philadelphia, and a regular faculty member for the Planned Giving Course.

As the Director of Gift Planning for the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) since 2005, Lynn has worked with several schools and centers and handled gifts of real estate university-wide. She has also served as an independent gift planning consultant to a variety of nonprofit organizations since 2002.

Prior to joining Penn, she held gift planning positions in health and higher education, served as Vice President with the Merrill Lynch Center for Philanthropy, and practiced estate planning, tax, and real estate law.

After graduating from Lycoming College with a BA in English, Spanish, and Literature, she received her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law. A dynamic and highly rated speaker, Lynn has presented at conferences, meetings, and webinars throughout the country on a variety of gift planning topics. She has also been a contributor to several gift planning publications, including Planned Giving Today.

She is the Proud Penn Parent of two adult daughters, Katie and Kristen, and lives with her favorite storyteller and husband, Mark, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. When not wearing a gift planning hat, Lynn enjoys wearing sunglasses on the beach, dancing the night away, or watching some of the most magnificent sunsets in the world at Lake Naomi. She has served as a member of the Lake Naomi Finance Committee and the Lake Naomi Board of Governors.