How storytelling helps teams connect and make more impact


St Catherine's Hospice

Hospice care is changing. Patients and their families want more choice and at the same time the demand on services is increasing as people are living longer with more complex conditions. St Catherine’s Hospice fundraising team raise over £5 million each year to fund hospice services. Over the coming years they need to raise significantly more to meet the growing demand.

St Catherine’s have already completed a considerable amount of strategic work to prepare for this new future, including an insightful rebrand and a strategy to help the whole organisation understand and play a role in supporting fundraising.

In December, Claire Irving, director of fundraising and marketing at St Catherine’s wanted to deliver a day for the fundraising team that was enjoyable and a ‘thank you’ for the hard work and commitment over the year. She also wanted to provide the team with some inspiration and practical skills to help them raise more money for the hospice in the future.

Claire knew that storytelling is a fundraisers most powerful communication tool and that telling the story of how the hospice makes a difference is the best way to inspire supporters to get involved. So Claire invited Lucy Gower to deliver a practical storytelling workshop to help the team find powerful stories and tell them well.

“Many of the team were apprehensive about storytelling. Lucy designed the session to help people feel at ease with lots of support and group work.” Claire Irving, director of fundraising and marketing

Lucy helped the team build their confidence by first helping them to tell their own stories. Then, with a simple framework the team worked on the different stories that they might tell donors and people in their local community.

“We had space to practice and ask questions. It was fun. I feel more confident now and use story much more when talking to supporters – I now frame my stories so that donors see the benefit of their actions and it really helps us develop a fundraising relationship further.” Claire Irving, director of fundraising and marketing

The team left feeling inspired, having had the opportunity to spend time together in a relaxed environment away from the office. They developed their storytelling skills and confidence which is having a positive impact on their fundraising success. The techniques learned were recently used with a new major donor prospect and they responded really positively. We have been told to expect a significant gift.

Since that workshop Claire has seen a shift in the team’s approach, for example the department has formed three workgroups, across fundraising functions to develop their storytelling skills. They are focusing on specific supporter journeys to apply the techniques to make a difference to each supporters experience. The teams are meeting monthly and it’s an effective way to innovate and break down silos.

“The teams confidence to tell stories has increased, I’m seeing a positive impact in the levels of engagement with our donors. We have a solid foundation for growing our fundraising in the future” Claire Irving, director of fundraising and marketing

If you would like to chat about how storytelling could help your team connect with each other and deliver better results  get in touch. 

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