top of page

Shakespeare, Billy Wilder, Nora Ephron, and Stephen King- What do they have in common?

Updated: Apr 1

They all tell a great story.

Storytelling is one of the most important skills a nonprofit leader can develop to inspire others to join them because it leverages rational, social, and emotional decision-making in all of us.

Effective storytelling can create teams of champions and cheerleaders around your mission.

A GREAT Story is Magic with a bit of Neurology .

When I worked at the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry, I got the opportunity to see recipients of marrow transplants meet their donors. All who were there were feeling love, joy, and the magic of a stranger saving a life…or as a donor once said- a shared ugly cry of joy! I called the experience the “shared emotions.”

Here is why…

A study at Princeton University, found that when you listen to a well-told story, the parts of your brain that respond are those that would if you were inside the story.

So somebody talks about the smell of roasting coffee, and your olfactory cortex lights up.

Even more impressive: this effect also happens to the person telling the story. So, if the story is being told live or in person, both the storyteller’s and the listeners’ brains start lighting up in sync with one another!

Ahhh, the explanation for the group ugly cry of joy!

So how do you turn your stories into Mission Magic?

Think movie, not article…

My College Degree is in Journalism, Broadcasting, and Speech Communications. When you are a JBS major, you learn to write a newspaper article that includes the who, what, where, when, and why. The facts -just the facts.

In storytelling, it is a bit different.

Think of telling a story as making a movie inside your audience’s head. Instead of using voiceover (no pictures) or montage (not very descriptive pictures), tell your story in action scenes. Get granular with the details. What did it look like? What was happening? Who was there? What did they say? Was there coffee and how did it smell?

Make your descriptions rich. Activate the sensory cortex in your listeners by focusing on smell, touch, sound, and feelings in your stories. (OK, many of my stories do include coffee..)

Emotions bring life to your story.

Many old movie trailers included the line- ’It will make you laugh; it will make you cry.’

When you include emotions in a story, your audience’s mirror neurons will make them feel those emotions, too. They actually move from hearing a story to feeling it!!

Share how you felt in a real and personal way. Instead of saying I was excited…say, my heart was racing, and my palms were sweating.

Think it out, before you speak-

· Telling an authentic, emotion-filled story does not mean you have to include EVERY detail. When you stick to the essential “scenes” and details plus emotions, you can get across a lot in a short period of time

· Don’t add spoilers - let the audience discover along with you!

· Every Storyteller has a style - develop yours - then perfect it!

Team Kat & Mouse was born out of the need to have fundraising teams be skilled and confident. We are non-profit consultants with a passion for great training and amazing outcomes (more money raised) We can deliver nonprofit training resources and the passion to teach your teams a better way.

Plus, we have some terrific stories to share…Just take a look at our blog posts!!

Give us a call, and we can help your team tell a great mission story and help with other options for nonprofit training programs such as sales training for fundraisers, planned giving programs, board retreats, capital campaigns, events sponsorships, marketing and more!

Sharon (The Kat) Kitroser

561 889-8158

fundraising office

41 views0 comments


bottom of page