(Read Time: 2 minutes)

Storytelling is hot. Companies and nonprofit organizations are digging into their personal interactions with customers and donors to create curiosity about what they do and why it’s important. The goal is to create a bond and ultimately, make a sale or secure a donation.

Here are 10 things a good story accomplishes

  1. Stories communicate a real experience
  2. Stories communicate conflict and resolution
  3. Stories communicate need
  4. Stories communicate impact
  5. Stories communicate third party verification that your work matters
  6. Stories communicate emotion
  7. Stories communicate what still needs to be accomplished
  8. Stories communicate action
  9. Stories communicate your organization’s values
  10. Stories communicate in an intimate and personal manner

Reinforce a good story with a photograph or video and you have created a memorable and repeatable moment.

Slam dunk- sale/donation to follow. Not really

The Call to Action

The storytelling rubber hits the road with a ‘call to action’. The call to action window is short- it lives in what Google calls the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)– the micro moment when decisions are made and before emotional connection is lost.

Stories create the ‘Yes, I understand’ moment and the call to action answers ‘How can I help?’

Here are 5 ways to capitalize on ZMOT 

  1. Tell a story about one person. Tell a story about one individual that directly illustrates an issue the organization is trying to solve
  2. Acknowledge the audience connection with the story. Reiterate the parts of the story that elicited a response
  3. Attach a clear call to action. Example: ‘With your $XX donation by next month we can include 5 more families in the program in September’.  If possible, include a timeline and amount to set expectations clearly (Specific, Urgent, Actionable)
  4. Make the ask and stop talking. Give your audience time to absorb the story and the request
  5. Follow up. Reiterate the terms of agreement and follow up promptly. Keep the momentum going!



Stories break your heart and change your mind.

David Isay Founder, StoryCorps