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Everyone loves a story. And when that story is about someone overcoming adversity, it becomes even more engaging. It’s human nature to cheer for the student who earns a high school diploma in spite of a multitude of roadblocks thrown in his way. We want the person fighting a debilitating disease to come out on top.
Success stories are an important tool when you want to showcase the success of your agency. They can be used in grant proposals, on your website, in your annual report or in a fundraising letter.
- Human interest stories create an emotional bond. People connect with people with whom they can empathize. When you share a success story that is rich in detail, the reader begins to feel connected to that person and thus to your agency.
- Human interest stories are a powerful way to tell your agency story. There are many ways to tell constituents about your mission, programs and successes. While program descriptions and statistics are important, stories bring your agency to life.
- Human interest stories showcase the success of your programs. It’s impressive to tell donors that 80 percent of all students who participate in your after-school program improved their grade substantially. It’s much more memorable to put a face to that story.
Here are some suggestions to make your success stories even more powerful:
- Choose your subject carefully. Choose a person who has experienced a significant change in his or her life because of your program. For example, highlight an adult who attended your literacy program and as a result, was able to secure a better job to support her family.
- Connect the story to your mission. Help your readers understand how the individual’s story relates to your mission. Describe the situation of the person, how your program addressed her needs and the resulting change in her life.
- Use details. While you may need to protect the identify of your subject, the more details you provide, the more realistic and effective your story will be. Let the individual’s personality shine through in your writing. Show the struggle to make progress. Describe the emotional aspect of the story.
Nonprofit organizations are in the business of making a difference in the world. Human interest stories help your donors and volunteers understand how well you do this.