For Impact


Storytelling & The Power of Story

Message and Case for Support | | Tom Suddes

I just returned from Ireland, where we did our first FOR IMPACT TRAINING. Wonderful, incredible people. A country and economy that is growing, booming. And, For Impact Organizations that have powerful ‘Causes’ and ‘Cases’! Reflecting on the plane ride back, I realized that I didn’t make a big enough deal of THE POWER OF STORY. As in all of our trainings, the attendees were slightly overwhelmed with the Presentation Tools, the Buckets/Circles, Altitude, Flow, etc. (“Overwhelmed” in a good way, though.) I stood at the front (during breaks, at lunch and after the training) with a flipchart and tried to help people with the MESSAGE part. As always, their message was too much, too complicated, too many words.However, when I asked each to simply TELL ME THEIR STORY… the “WORDS” jumped out!

HUGE lesson for all of us:


3 Big Ideas

1. STORYBOARDING. It’s a Walt Disney animation term… but it works perfectly for us. Actually laying out the ‘STORY’ is a way to Prepare and Practice your Presentation!

  • HOW do you begin?
  • HOW do you talk about the WHAT, the WHY and the HOW?
  • WHO do you talk about? (Their Story)

P.S. The story doesn’t always start with “In 1842, Father Sorin and six brothers came to a snowy lake which was actually two lakes…” (Notre Dame).

2. STORYTELLING!!!! Here I am, in Ireland and the land of incredible “storytellers…" and we’re caught up in Presentation Tools and Buckets and Flow and Framework, etc. STORYTELLING is about AUTHENTICITY. It’s about VISUALIZATION and IMAGINATION. And it’s about PASSION, EMOTION andENTHUSIASM.

3. SHARING THE STORY. Nick and I have been
using this for a long time. It’s so much easier for you and your Board and anyone connected with your For Impact Organization to SHARE THE STORY then PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY …then it is to go and “ask for money”!!! THE POWER OF STORY helps with the Open, Dialogue, Conversation, and much more.Building, telling, sharing your STORY is ALL you need to do. And I mean that pretty literally. For more, including STORYTELLING RESOURCES, See THE YEAR OF STORYTELLING.