The Power of Storytelling in Nonprofit Fundraising

3/4 of BDI clients surveyed have received positive community feedback after sharing BDI Storytellers’ stories and photos.

Sharing stories of need and showing successful outcomes are cornerstones of strong fundraising. People’s personal stories help donors engage emotionally with your organization and can boost results and response rates… but at BDI, we believe the benefit of stories goes beyond increasing revenue alone.

And storytelling has a powerful ripple effect – it changes:

  • The person who tells their story
  • The staff who are witnessing the story in real time
  • The donors who read it and respond

Our BDI Storytellers program captures the real-life stories and photos inside our client partners’ organizations to touch the hearts of donors. Our team of professional photographers and interviewers visit our client partners onsite to collect these resources – and our BDI team uses these stories and photos to create campaigns that are truly dynamic and unique. 

Our Storytellers choose individuals far along in their recovery who can describe how they’ve benefited from an organization’s recovery services. As a result, the interview and photoshoot become a major milestone in their recovery; telling their stories further empowers their life change.

“These stories are inspiring to other residents in our program, because it gives them hope for what they can achieve.”

– Natalie Vermeulen, Market Street Mission

“Our clients get really excited when they are included in our storytelling process… It makes them feel included and invested in our Mission and what we do.”

– Scott Wolf, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission


BDI clients surveyed said Storytellers resource inspires their internal staff and guests

BDI understands the pressure development teams can experience collecting photos or stories of beneficiaries. Yet, we know there’s tremendous value to staff members witnessing and sharing these stories too.

“These stories inspire our staff to give our all for the men at the Mission… It helps us see their full transformation.”

– Lori Novak, The Allentown Rescue Mission

“Many of our staff use these stories as a way to encourage and build up the guest that’s featured.”

– Lynn Russcher, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries

Our Storytellers team provides organizations with a secure, always accessible archive of their unique stories and photos. More than being a resource to use in fundraising, these testimonials and images have encouraged many teams who’ve been able to trace the impact of their daily work in the lives of the individuals they’re helping.

Top ways nonprofit teams use Storytellers resource

80% – on social media

70% – in annual reports/
donor newsletters

Storytelling is a powerful way to connect your organization’s work to a donor’s impact. Not only do stories help show donors the impact their donations have made in people’s lives, but they can inspire them to engage with an organization’s work in other ways: as a volunteer, as an advocate for the organization at their business or church, etc.

Anecdotally, one donor felt compelled to write directly to the CEO of one of our nonprofit partners, saying a newsletter they received “broke through the fundraising clutter” at year-end and inspired them to give. Here’s what others have said about the power of storytelling in their donor communications…


BDI clients surveyed said they’ve received positive feedback from their community when sharing Storytellers resource

“Our supporters are glad to peer into the Mission. Through our stories, they have a better understanding of what we do… and are grateful to know how they have contributed.”

– Ryan Johnson, Fairhaven Rescue Mission

“On many occasions, we have had donors say they were moved to help because of a story we shared.”

– Trisha Schum, City Mission
Heidi Caster

If you are interested in learning how BDI can help tell your organization’s stories to inspire generosity and impact more lives, please contact Heidi today.

Heidi Caster, Senior Vice President, Client Partnership
(425)269-2658 |

More fuel for more impact.

Let's talk.