Good storytelling motivates people to action. Facts, figures, graphs and charts showing the good you do may seem logical, but just doesn’t work.
Why Storytelling Motivates People to Action
Dr. Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University studies how people are moved to action through storytelling.
His research shows oxytocin (a chemical released by our brain), motivates us to cooperate with other people.
It also enhances our sense of empathy, so we can experience other people’s emotions. Dr. Zak found that character-driven stories cause oxytocin to be released into the bloodstream.
How Storytelling Motivates People to Action
For a story to motivate people to action:
- It needs to get our attention.
- It must create tension.
The result makes us connect with the characters’ feelings and behaviors.
If you ever saw a Rocky Balboa movie, you just knew you could throw an awesome right hook at the end of the movie!
Stories help us feel empathy—and they also help us remember. We can recall with great clarity stories we have heard at meetings or conferences. But we cannot recall the numerical data that was presented.
Fundraising guru, Tom Ahern, quotes neuroscientist Dr. Antoine Bdechara who says, “decision-making is a process guided by emotions.”
Ahern gives even more ammunition to the use of emotional storytelling by quoting neuroscientist Donald B. Caine, “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”
Motivating people to action starts with storytelling which connects with the heart. The brain kicks in later giving its approval and justifying your actions using the facts and figures.
Motivating Your Donors to Action Through Storytelling
Storytelling helps your donors understand your non-profits mission. It helps them buy in to your cause. Use stories to help donors understand why your organization exists, how it got started and how it fills an important need.
Let's talk about how we can help you share stories of impact with your donors. Schedule your free coaching call to get started >>