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Telling Your Organization’s Story: Building Board Competency in Fundraising and Marketing

Updated July 12, 2023
Professional headshot of Joshua Hofer

Joshua Hofer

SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist

Over the past months, our team has appreciated the opportunity to visit several communities with our Building Highly Effective Boards series, a program offering six different options for two-hour focused trainings to help build boards’ competencies.

One of these modules is “Compelling Storytelling and Mission-Driven Fundraising.” In this module, we teach about how marketing, fundraising, and storytelling should be carefully guided in a focused effort. At their core, whether speaking to an outside audience or a valuable donor, we focus on building relationships.

Storytelling: Igniting Emotions and Building Connection

Clipboard with draft of storytelling notes.
Marketing, fundraising, and storytelling are closely linked activities. Courtesy: Canva

Storytelling plays a significant role in board fundraising by capturing the hearts and minds of potential donors.

When stories are shared, they have the power to evoke emotions and create a sense of connection.

By narrating real-life anecdotes, success stories, and the impact of their initiatives, boards can help individuals understand the importance of their cause.

Personal narratives often resonate with people, regardless of their educational, cultural, or socioeconomic background.

Some examples of tools that articulate this are a website, social media presence, case statement, and more.

Fundraising: Transforming Stories Into Action

Fundraising is the way we turn those stories into the energy and resources that sustain the board’s work. By organizing fundraising campaigns, events, and initiatives, boards can provide individuals in South Dakota with meaningful opportunities to contribute and make a difference.

Supporting fundraising can happen in many ways. Board members may not have the financial means to contribute themselves, but they must agree to opening doors and accessing their network for potential relationship building. Tactically identifying this as the central mandate for board members gives context to their fundraising work without emphasizing dollar amounts.

Marketing, fundraising, and storytelling are closely linked activities. By leveraging the power of narratives and implementing strategic marketing techniques, boards can supplement their strategic goals and the tangible work of their organizations.

Building Highly Effective Boards

The Building Highly Effective Boards series can build stronger boards, as well as stronger communities, and make a positive difference in South Dakota. Contact Joshua Hofer by email at or by phone at 605-995-7378 for more information.