What we heard at CASE D2: Storytelling

Stories are the backbone of all good development communications. At the CASE District II conference in Philly, we were heartened to hear some of the same storytelling advice we often give our clients, namely:

Come up with a good strategy and platform for collecting story ideas, and include supporting information so they are easily usable and shareable.

Stanford collects story ideas in the office of development’s Touchpoints blog, which links each to a funding priority and includes email templates for gift officers. Stories are tagged by topic for easy searching.

At Columbia, the development team tracks story ideas in a robust Google Sheet that includes where the topic has already been covered, social media accounts to tag, suggested content for social posts, and related photos and video.

Haverford College’s donor relations team culls existing communications and creates a weekly email digest for relationship managers that includes stories of possible interest to their donors.

Focus on the impact of philanthropy whenever possible. Nearly two-thirds of readers report being uninterested in donor stories1. Focus on the beneficiaries of philanthropy or the transformations to your campus, programs, faculty, or research that donors have made possible. Johns Hopkins pairs content about donors with an impact story or beneficiary Q&A, and generates awareness of unmet goals through stories about their funding priorities.

We’re storytellers by trade. Can we help you tell yours? Reach out to us anytime.

1 CASE Currents magazine, 2014