What’s Your 30-Second Story?

June 7, 2013


What 30-second story could you tell about this photo?

Networking opportunities abound in our community, providing fertile ground for you to make new connections for your nonprofit.

How do you interact with people in those meetings, mingles and mixes to get them hooked on the work of your nonprofit…or at least help them remember your organization?

In the 30 seconds or less you have to make a strong impression, reciting your mission statement and your staff or board history with the organization may not make the cut.

What works well? I love a good story. You love a good story. It’s emotion that helps us make an immediate connection.

Do you have a good 30-second story about your nonprofit to share?

We asked this question in a governance presentation today and heard two great examples of what could move anyone to want to learn more about the organization. Here’s what each story had in common:

  • The stories revolved around characters I could easily envision and care about. In one case, it was grandmothers. In the other, it was  a 25 year-old woman who walked a significant distance to thank the organization for the difference her gift made.

  • Each story exemplified the multiplier effect. Women in each story used the donor’s gift to make something more of their lives and the lives of others around them. “The gift that keeps on giving” theme was front and center.

  • The stories were brief and were shared with personal passion. Make it short. Make it compelling. And you have a winner.

Before I heard the stories, I knew the mission of the organization: “empowering women.”  Great mission, hard to visualize. After the stories were shared, I had two strong pictures in my mind that each gave me something tangible to remember and hold on to.

Keep a few success stories in your back pocket for parties, dinners, neighborhood mailbox chats and the grocery line.

Where can you find them? Remember that fabulous program section that took so long to complete on your nonprofit profile in The Giving Partner? There you will find examples of program success, and if you did a great job, these specific, visual stories can make a donor swoon.

Have a great weekend!

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


One Response to “What’s Your 30-Second Story?”

  1. Michele Strauss Says:

    Thank you Susan. That was very insightful. I have a couple of those stories I like to tell but have never heard the kind of power they can have put so succinctly.

    Michele Strauss

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