Telling A Great Story Earns Millions

One woman’s story earns her nonprofit organization $10 million per year, according to Nancy Lublin, author of the new book Zilch. Elaborating on how to “get what you want for nothing,” Lublin explains that nonprofits are experts at raising money with no promise of material goods. The reward is in helping others.

Take the case of Zainab Salbi, founder and CEO of Women for Women International, whose father was the pilot for Saddam Hussein. Lublin credits Salbi’s ability to tell her personal story with raising funds for her organization, which helps women and children victimized by conflict in various parts of the world.

Salbi uses three essential techniques of good storytelling to win support from complete strangers: 1) her mission is compelling, 2) her own story is engaging, and 3) she’s specific about which segment of the population she’s helping (and she also allows donors to choose a specific group in a particular part of the world where they want their own donations to be used).

As Lublin says in a current issue of “Fast Company”, “Smart companies weave such narratives into the ask — and the organization at large.” How can you put stories to work for your company or nonprofit?

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