#mygivingstory: Resources and Best Practices for @GivingTuesday Nonprofit Storytelling | Beth's Blog

#mygivingstory: Resources and Best Practices for @GivingTuesday Nonprofit Storytelling


Storytelling is an essential fundraising skill for nonprofits.  One of the most amazing nonprofit storytellers I ever heard in my life is Alberto Cairo (International Committee of the Red Cross) who delivered a truly inspirational speech during the International Fundraising Congress closing plenary.  He shared incredible stories from over two decades of providing rehabilitation for disabled people in Afghanistan.  I would urge you to take a few minutes to view this video and see what you can learn nonprofit storytelling.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and #GivingTuesday launched #MyGivingStory – a social media campaign and contest that asks people around country to tell their giving stories: to whom they give and why it is meaningful to them.  The call for submissions  runs through November 24.   I am honored to be a judge for the contest!  This past week, I participated in a Twitter Chat (the complete and detailed transcript of every tweet here) where we discussed storytelling.  This contest is for donors to share their story – so why not encourage your nonprofit’s board or donors to enter?  The details are below, but before you enter, you might want to review some good storytelling resources to ensure that your story is as amazing as Dr. Cairo’s.

The chat was great, so I’m summarizing the resources and key points below:

  • What do you think makes a powerful story?

Good stories are authentic, emotional, and use dramatic structures.   The person telling the story share some vulnerabilities and that sparks a connection to the audience.  Some of those structures include:

Three-Act Structure is a classic approach to organizing your story for emotional impact. But there other structures – for example see the below drawing of the RadioLab story structure.

A few good resource for tips, tools, and best practices for nonprofit storytelling:

  • What are some examples of powerful storytelling you’ve seen in the social good community?



How to Enter #MyGivingStory

  • Beginning November 2, post a short essay (200-words or more) responding to the question, “What inspires you to give?”
  • In it, tell the story of a specific instance in which you supported a nonprofit organization in a way that was meaningful to you. Your essay must focus on one specific nonprofit organization.
  • Submit your essay by November 24 on the #MyGivingStory tab of #GivingTuesday’s Facebook page.
  • Share and promote your submission on social media with #MyGivingStory and #GivingTuesday.

How #MyGivingStory Works

  • The 15 essays garnering the most Facebook “likes” are submitted to a distinguished panel of #GivingTuesday ambassadors for judging.
  • Contest judges include Perla Ni, founder and CEO, myself, and others
  • Six winners are selected (two each for First-, Second- and Third-Place)
  • Winners receive gift cards that they can use to donate to a project of their choice on GlobalGiving, the first and largest global crowdfunding platform for nonprofits
  • Winners also earn grants (between $1,000 and $5,000) for the organizations featured in their essays
  • Winners are announced on #GivingTuesday, December 1, 2015

Has your nonprofit mastered the art of storytelling?  Why not enter #mygivingstory today!

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for another great blog. Quite timely considering many nonprofits (like my own) will be starting to think about or draft their year-end solicitations as we head into the holidays. I’m constantly trying to figure out to how to use my organizations social media networks to engage with current and prospective donors and encourage them to engage/donate/provide support. Perhaps it all boils down to telling a better story! I know I was very touched by the Save the Children video about what’s going on in Syria. I’m going to study the excellent resources you’ve provided and get to work.

  2. Beth says:

    Karen, thanks so much – and good luck with your year end appeals.