The Power of a Good Story

2015 Melbourne Cup Demonstrates the Power of a Good Story

The Melbourne Cup attracted more attention than usual this week, all thanks to the incredible story behind winner, Prince of Penzance. It had everything a good story should have – the horse everyone underestimated, a heroine overcoming adversity to become the first female jockey to win the race, a group of mates who bought a racehorse in secret, punters winning big and a young man showing the world that Down Syndrome is no barrier to career success. The extra buzz around this year’s cup is a timely reminder of the power in a good story.

Storytelling in fundraising is vitally important, but often underutilised. Storytelling is what engages your audience and brings your vision to life. It is what gets people excited about supporting your cause and inspires them into action. A good story can simply and memorably explain a complex issue and demonstrate the solution. In short, storytelling is a tool that everyone can afford to sharpen. Therefore, we have compiled some tips to help hone your storytelling skills and see you harness the power of a good story.

  1. Go back to basics – Remember what we were taught in Primary School – every story should have a beginning, middle and end. Start with dot points and map out where your story will go so you don’t end up off topic.
  2. Keep it simple – Writing clearly and concisely can be surprisingly difficult but it is important that your key message does not become obscured by flowery language, sub-plots, industry jargon or unnecessary fluff. Try and stick to one key theme or message and get to the point as quickly as you can.
  1. Paint a picture – A good story does not have to explain every detail. You need to give your readers the opportunity to engage their imaginations and find their own personal connection to your story.
  1. Write with authenticity- Avoid the temptation to embellish or overstate your achievements or issues. It is vital that your story comes across as honest and credible. If you cannot gain the reader’s trust, you cannot gain their interest or their support.
  1. Choose the right story – You will probably have plenty of material to choose from, but you need to carefully select the right story for you audience. Consider things such as age, motivations, culture, interests, values, education and connection to your organisation. Choosing the wrong story will not only fail to engage the reader, it could offend or alienate them and cause you to lose their support.

Storytelling is a skill that requires practice and refinement. If you need help to more effectively tell your organisation’s story, please call Team OKP on 1300 721 799 or email


Contact OKP on: 1300 721 199 | |

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