Stories are one of the best ways to make your organization part of a donor’s life.
Neuroscience has shown that when people hear or read stories told in evocative terms, those stories activate corresponding parts of a listener’s brain. When you read about a juicy plum, a crunchy carrot, or gooey chocolate icing, the taste and sensation parts of your brain light up.
That means you’re not just listening to a story, but experiencing it on some level. And that can be powerful. So powerful, in fact, that sometimes people can think they fully experienced something they’ve only heard about.
On a recent advice chat I read, the poster recounted with amusement how her sister-in-law starting telling a story about an incident from the poster’s wedding—yet the sister-in-law had been ill and hadn’t attended the wedding. She must have seen the pictures and heard the stories so often that she convinced herself she had been there!
When you tell a story using evocative language, you help the donor to put themselves in the shoes of your story subject—whether it’s a recipient of services, a staff member, or a volunteer whose experience you’re describing. They’re likely to remember it longer and to be influenced more profoundly than if they had simply read generic information about your services or seen statistics on your performance.