Secure Loyal Individual Donors: Connect Personally Now

4 min read
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Have you ever wondered why your nonprofit cannot connect personally with individual donors? You might feel confident about your corporate donors, but your campaign messaging seems flat regarding individuals. You might be facing a storytelling gap.

What is a Storytelling Gap?

No, this isn't another buzzphrase—it's a natural barrier that dampens your impact.

The Storytelling Gap happens when a great story is not told well enough for individual donors to care about it. This issue is common in nonprofit storytelling.

Things that Causes a Storytelling Gap

  1. Time Constraints: The demands of program work often overshadow any storytelling efforts.
  2. Lack of Expertise: Not knowing how to create stories that resonate emotionally with the audience.
  3. Data-Driven Dilemma: The tendency to focus on numerical impact, losing the emotional and personal appeal.

Common Signs of Not Resonating with Individual Donors?

If you've ever used WebMD to diagnose symptoms, you know how helpful it can be. Identifying the symptoms of a storytelling gap is just as crucial. Based on insights from the "Why American Gives" report, here are some signs:

  • Low Engagement in Communication Channels: Your nonprofit communications (emails, newsletters, and social media posts) aren't generating much interest or interaction.
  • Disconnection: A misunderstanding or disconnect between your nonprofit and its community.
  • High Donor Turnover: When nonprofit donors give once and do not return, it can suggest that your nonprofit is not building a strong emotional connection or effectively demonstrating ongoing impact.
  • Overreliance on Data: Using primarily numerical data and metrics in your communications without connecting them to personal stories can inform but not inspire.
  • Impersonal Mass Communications: Sending generalized messages instead of personalized communications can make donors feel like just another number rather than valued supporters.
  • Difficulty Matching Values: If donors struggle to see how your nonprofit's mission aligns with their values, it can indicate a gap in effectively communicating your values.
  • Limited Donor Involvement: If nonprofit donors do not participate in volunteer opportunities or sign up for updates, your nonprofit may not create a sense of community and involvement.

So, How Can You Close Your Storytelling Gap and Appeal to Individual Donors?

Addressing these signs can help your nonprofit identify and close the storytelling gap, ultimately creating deeper connections with donors and enhancing engagement and loyalty.

Potential Questions for Diagnosing the Storytelling Gap

  1. Why are our nonprofit emails and social media posts not engaging donors?
  2. Why do our donors give once and not come back?
  3. Why are our communications not evoking strong emotions in our donors?
  4. Are we focusing too much on data and not enough on personal stories?
  5. Do we update our donors regularly with meaningful information?
  6. Are our communications too generalized and not personalized enough?
  7. Do our donors understand how our mission aligns with their values?
  8. Are we missing out on timely opportunities to engage donors?
  9. Why aren't our donors participating in volunteer activities or signing up for updates?
  10. Do our donors know about flexible donation options like recurring donations?

Additional Ways to Close to Appeal to Your Individual Donors:

Do It Yourself

Become a storytelling pro. Our storytelling guide and brand storytelling tips/hacks will provide knowledge and step-by-step instructions for creating emotional storytelling, crafting an engaging story structure, and more.

Hire A Storytelling Agency

Look no further if your plate is full and you need help telling your stories. At BairStories, we specialize in elevating community and funding through emotive storytelling. Whether through nonprofit video storytelling, energizing workshops, or insightful consulting, we'll work together to re-energize and deepen your community engagement.

We deeply listen and craft stories by focusing on understanding emotions and experiences through suspending judgment, asking meaningful questions, and paying close attention to what is said and unsaid. This ensures our clients feel heard and connected to their audience, stakeholders, and mission.


You're sitting on a treasure of untold stories that could change how people see and respond to your mission. The storytelling gap is a manageable problem. By recognizing the signs and taking steps to address them, you can enhance your nonprofit's ability to connect with individual donors on a personal level. Effective storytelling combines emotional resonance with clear communication.

To give you an edge, consider identifying the stories you need to tell to propel your mission. This top-down strategic approach ensures that your stories remain timely, relevant, cohesive, and continuously engage your audience.

Feeling stuck with your storytelling? Download our free guide to crafting emotional narratives that resonate with individual donors, and start closing your storytelling gap today.


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