The power of storytelling in fundraising

For some reason I thought today of this story someone told me, years ago, about a fundraiser they knew, who worked for an animal rescue centre.

This fundraiser would, every Friday afternoon, as a kind of fun activity, take a pin and stick it in a fundraising directory and then write a letter to the randomly chosen grant making trust.

This particular day the trust selected stated clearly that they never made donations to animal charities. However, our fundraiser was not easily daunted and noticing that the trust had a particular interest in deprived children, she put together a letter. In this letter she focused on a child, let’s call him Billy, who came from a deprived background, his parents were in constant dispute and were often violent to him and to each other, he was undernourished and underachieving at school. Then one day Billy found a stray cat, he had a PDSA  vet check the animal;s health, looked into how to feed it properly and looked after it as if it were his own. As a result Billy started to take more care of his appearance, started to pay more attention at school and even inspired his parents to fight less. If rehoming a cat could make such a difference to a child’s life then shouldn’t this charitable trust consider funding an animal rescue centre?

The chief executive of the trust was impressed by the ‘sheer cheek’ of this fundraising approach and made a generous donation to the rescue centre. Now, it’s not an approach that can be guaranteed to work every time, but it does nicely highlight the power of storytelling in fundraising appeals.

What are your powerful stories from your work that help you secure funding?


About julietwilson

This is my professional blogging account. My personal blog is Crafty Green Poet (

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