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The 16 Elements of a Great Story 

By Jim Alexander 

Vice President,

BBS & Associates 


You’ve got to tell the SOTO … the Story of the One! 

We shared in a recent blog post how important it is to include stories in your appeal communications.  

Now let’s dig a little deeper.   

A story is good. It’s GREAT, in fact. But for it to be completely effective, you’ve got to tell it right. 

And BBS & Associates is here to help you with the details, the “do’s” and “don’ts” of storytelling! Our e-book 3 Keys to Powerful Ministry Storytelling covers it all. Download it here  

So, what makes a good ministry story?   

The answer is simple: A life changed.  

  • A good story is a vivid picture of what someone was, how they were touched by the ministry, and what happened to them as a result.  
  • A good story keeps you engaged in the dramatic unfolding of events.  
  • A good story has you cheering at the end, and wanting more! 

The true story of an individual makes a powerful connection between the ministry and the donor. As a donor, I can relate to another human being — better than I can relate to you telling me about the ministry’s operations or the ministry’s vision or the ministry’s reason for being — or even statistics about thousands of people helped.  

Even if the copy masks the identity of the individual to protect his or her privacy, the sharing of that story gives the ministry a certain credibility that no volume of statistics or celebrity endorsements can duplicate.  

Now, here’s the “difficult” part. Grade your ministry.  

On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being perfect), how well is your ministry implementing stories of life change?  

If you think some work is in order, we would love to help! We’ve developed a 16-point list to help you collect the elements of a good story. These include: 

  1. How did you first become acquainted with or involved with this ministry? 
  2. When did this happen? Where were you located at the time? What was going on in your life? 
  3. What were your first impressions of the ministry? 
  4. How has the ministry impacted your life? What happened? 
  5. When did this occur? Where? 
  6. What kind of need were you facing? What kind of obstacle or challenge or opposition were you going through? 

There’s 10 more — plus many years of experience in collecting, organizing, writing, and sharing stories — in the pages of our e-book 3 Keys to Powerful Ministry Storytelling  

[Download Your e-Book Now]  

Or feel free to reach out to us for more individualized help. Reach Jared Matthews via or 330-665-5227 today!