Claire Routley explains how storytelling feeds into the three key motivations of people who leave a bequest.

Over the past few years, storytelling has become a fundraising buzzword. It’s been described as a vital feature of online fundraising, a way to engage new donors, a means to influence colleagues – even as fundraising’s magic bullet.

Storytelling has become a buzzword for a reason. It’s a process that is central to the human experience, shared by every culture.

Indeed, it’s our ability to think symbolically – to tell stories – that distinguishes us from other primates. Psychologist Dan McAdams has argued that it’s narrative, or the stories we tell about ourselves and to ourselves, that enables us to make sense of our lives and the world around us.

Although we might instinctively know that stories are effective in fundraising, there's now research evidence to back those instincts up. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak tested two different videos, one telling the dramatic story of a young boy dying of…

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