4 Storytelling No-Nos

by | May 22, 2019

At M&C, we’re happy to share tips for good storytelling and we usually focus on what should be done. At times, though, it’s also helpful to have reminders of what not to do

As you tell your organization’s story, here are 4 big no-nos to be mindful of:

1. Complicated stories

If the reader can’t follow what’s going on in your story, then it won’t move them to act. Find a succinct, clear way to stir emotions and convey your message.

2. Made up stories

Don’t make up stories EVER. Don’t risk losing the trust of donors, members or those you serve. Your story should be compelling without having to embellish or invent details.

3. Bewildering readers with endless data

Similar to complicated stories, confusing or overwhelming the reader with data will hurt your chances of getting the result you want. Correlate large numbers to concrete concepts. Provide context. Give your reader something they can identify with. 

4. Burying your ask 

The reader should know what you want them to do. Your call to action should be clear and not lost in your copy. Find ways to incorporate a softer ask early in your copy to build the feeling of partnership if you don’t want to lead with a strong ask right off the bat. 

When you steer clear of these no-nos, you have a better opportunity to tell your organization’s story effectively and drive support for your mission.

Recent Blog Posts

A Pandemic Graduate’s Tips for Working Remote

As a 2021 high school graduate, I quickly — and reluctantly — adapted to an all-virtual environment with little warning. No classroom, no teachers, no students, no nagging parent over my shoulder to keep me on track. For a little over a year, I altered everything I...

Best AI Uses For Nonprofits

So much has been written about AI, it can be hard to know what to think! We checked in with our resident tech expert Danielle Pinto for her thoughts on AI’s applications for nonprofits. Spoiler alert — it’s neither good nor bad. But there are some cautions … Can you...

How Do Your Numbers Compare?

Bob Merrigan summarizes the 2023 M+R Benchmark Report. The M+R just released the 2023 Benchmark Report, their "2024 Spin Through the Gripping World of Nonprofit Digital Programs." I'm a fan and wanted to read it as soon as it was available. I'd encourage you to as...

M&C Doggos & Cattos—Krunchie

Krunchie—Owned by Erika Slinker Beagle/basset hound Loves: Toys she can tear the stuffing out of, sunbathing, long naps, cheese, car rides, cuddling, and walks (including stopping and sniffing everything on the way!) Dislikes: Dogs bigger than her, hilly car rides,...

‘The Arts Taught Me Resilience, Work Ethic, & Patience’

Laura Tyler Strawn - M&C Digital Manager - working in her basement studio In this Q&A with M&C’s Laura Tyler Strawn, we continue our conversation about how a background in the arts and humanities can lead to many different careers — and provide an edge...


A monthly recap of Insights & Ideas from the M&C team will be delivered to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.