Storytelling | PEAK Insight Journal
Issue 9

Storytelling

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms,” wrote poet Muriel Rukeyser. This is especially true of the philanthropy universe, where stories are the way the sector functions: nonprofits have stories about communities, grantmakers have stories about missions, and philanthropists have personal stories about passions. Stories are the commodity of philanthropy.

But what is the value of that commodity? How do nonprofits learn to tell their stories effectively, so that grantmakers see and believe in missions that move people? It’s one thing to have a program, but another thing altogether to have a purpose. Stories tell us the purpose, and philanthropy needs to invest in those stories to share the sector’s purpose with the rest of the world.

In this issue of GMNsight, we look at storytelling as a necessary function of philanthropy. What is storytelling, and why does it matter? Who is doing it, and who is doing it well? How can we do it better, and what will better storytelling achieve for philanthropy?

Your Organization’s Story: In Five Minutes

Your Organization’s Story: In Five Minutes

With your One Minute Message and your Two Minute Messages developed, you’re well prepared to give an arresting introduction and explain why your organization is needed. Used effectively, these messages give you a greater chance at keeping your listener interested. Now it’s time to paint a picture of the impact of your work. What happens as a result of your efforts? Many nonprofits see the right answer to this question as an invitation to spew facts, figures, and statistics. It’s been said before that a pie chart never made anyone march on Washington, and a statistic never made anyone cry.