It’s All About Storytelling

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling


The Magic of the Word
From Making A Case your Donor Will Love by Jerold Panas

You’re not just a writer. You’re a dream maker. You gather all of the information, you do the interviewing of key players, you begin developing your strategy for the writing. You may be even thinking of a possible title.

It’s your job to put all of this into a package and develop an undeniable, irresistible, and urgent case for support. Just keep in mind that a person doesn’t go to a hardware store to buy a drill. He goes to a hardware store to buy a drill—because he needs a hole.

That’s what you have to keep your eyes and mind focused on. It’s not the drill you’ll be writing about, it’s the hole. Your task is to make the case more powerful, more expansive than the organization itself.

Tell Stories. You get people to move to action by telling stories. Hearing a story acts as a kind of mental flight simulator. Stories help a donor go from the heart to the brain, to the checkbook.


It’s About the Dream. It’s About the Vision

When I asked Vartan Gregorian, head of the Carnegie, about his well-known fundraising prowess, he denied it vehemently. And not out of modesty (which isn’t one of Vartan’s principal virtues).

“As president of Brown University, I raised a great deal of money. And before that as president of the New York Public Library,” he says. “But as a matter of fact, I’ve never asked anyone for a gift. Not ever.”

“I let them know about my dreams and vision for the future,” continues Gregorian. “I explain how important the program is and about the lives it affects.”

“When I finish, it seems I never have to ask. They always come forward with what they want to do. It has become their dream and vision.”

Gregorian makes it sound simple. But this doesn’t give credit to the impact he has when describing his bold and exciting dreams. Vartan Gregorian is magic.