New Book, “Non-Profit Narrative,” Shows How to Increase Donations

PASADENA, Calif.,  — Why do non-profit organizations fail to reach their fundraising goals?

“Non-profits, including schools, churches and associations, fail to connect emotionally with their donors. They present dry bullet points of facts and figures, which don’t motivate people. They need to tell stories which intrigue and excite people so they want to support their cause,” says Dan Portnoy, president of Portnoy Media Group, who consults with non-profits like United Way of Greater Los Angeles, International Justice Mission, and Union Rescue Mission.

“Your non-profit organization was started to change the world. You are involved in a mission to change the world and that is a story we all can get behind,” said Portnoy, author of Non-Profit Narrative, a new book that is designed give hope to a battle-weary development directors and marketing managers at non-profit organizations who are looking for a handle on how to effectively communicate their message in the digital age. “They’ll learn how to think like the screenwriter of your organization’s story.”

“Boring your audience is a terrible thing,” says Portnoy, who speaks at conferences and associations for non-profits such as Ideation, Pepperdine and UCLA. “And the best part is: You ALREADY know more than you think.”

Portnoy says stories are important for non-profit fundraising because:

Stories convey passion. If you tell the story of why someone started an organization, you get more momentum.

Stories are inspirational. Most non-profits tell “what.” They don’t tell “why.” “What” isn’t inspirational. I need to hear facts, but as a listener, I want to hear opinion. People don’t want to read only bullet points.

Stories connect people to your cause.

Stories raise more money. Anyone who is telling a good story is raising enough money. If they aren’t raising money, they aren’t telling a good story. It is crucial. Most non-profits don’t tell a good story.

“When non-profits share their hearts, donors share their wallets,” he said.

The Non-Profit Narrative: How Stories Can Save the World helps non-profit marketing thrive by telling great stories. The book also helps non-profit philanthropy learn how to:

  • Communicate a narrative in the digital space.
  • Improve donor cultivation and donor acquisition.
  • Communicate with engagement, connection and more donors.

Each chapter is designed to help non-profits apply storytelling principles to their day-to-day operations and communications for maximum impact. “Each organization has a great story to tell and I want to encourage non-profits and NGOs to interpret fundraising and engagement through the perspective of storytelling,” said Portnoy, who has appeared on NPR and Fox Business.

To receive two chapters of the book for free, go to http://www.nonprofitnarrative.com .

Portnoy offers four tips to create great stories for non-profits:

1. We find the story when we connect the facts. Why? Because we want to understand humanity. It’s a basic human desire that we want to understand our world.

2. How can you push beyond the facts? Tell a simple truth of your organization.

3. Are you fighting cancer or building a better life for those affected by this condition? Are you providing clean water to a village that has never had it, or are you giving vision to multiple generations to strive for something they’ve never achieved before? Is your organization providing a night of shelter for a recently evicted family or are you providing the tools for life transformation?

4. Non-profit organizations weren’t started to consistently ask for money and talk about the troubles of keeping the lights on. Remember, they were started to change the world. This is the story you need to be telling. Tell me about what is catalytic. Tell me about what brings people together. Rattle the saber.

About Dan Portnoy

Dan is the author of The Non-Profit Narrative: How Stories Can Save the World. He loves helping passionate people strive for the impossible and on several occasions he’s seen it happen.

For over a decade, Dan has worked with the toughest outposts of Fortune 500 companies to get them back on track and with big results. He is sought after to help flesh out business ideas, coach teams and lead senior staff through the digital age.

In 2006, he started The Portnoy Media Group to help non-profits, companies and organizations better tell their stories for impact and engagement. His communication strategies have helped multiple non-profit organizations double their online donations year over year and raise millions.


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