You are probably thinking about the approach for your annual stewardship appeal (if not, it’s time to start!). As you make your plans, don’t forget about the “power of story” when it comes to engaging contributors.

Every day we make decisions because we hear a story that resonates within us. When we choose to support a tree-planting charity, buy our morning coffee from the same coffee shop drive-through, decide to join a book club, we’re buying into a story we care about.

The ideas we care about spread when we invest time to tell a story. And stories, in turn, give others reasons to care. When you tell a story, you activate empathy in others, help them build connections between ideas and actions, and translate facts into feelings – all of which fuels giving from new donors and prompts retention among your current contributors. Facts and figures have their place, but stories are what stick in people’s minds and warm their hearts.

Storytelling demonstrates your mission and values. It says who you are and what is important to your congregation or organization. Storytelling is an outlet that lets your vision and mission shine and engages donors on a personal level.

Consider creating a “narrative budget” with stories about your mission and ministry. Have members share their personal story about what is important to them about your congregation or organization. Scripture is full of stories that Jesus told – he must have been on to something!

If you have questions and would like to talk further about the Capital Campaign Process, don’t hesitate to contact me at

 John V. Clark, President/Partner
The James Company