Nonprofit Storytelling Conference


Where Stories Take Flight

November 10 - 11, 2016

CHICAGO HILTON  720 South Michigan Avenue  Chicago, IL 60605


1 story,
1 month,
1 Million dollars.

It was unbelievable...

Tom's organization received their largest donation ever - and it all started with a story.

After attending the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, Tom started telling stories differently.  Donors took notice.  The income from his newsletter more than doubled.  But that wasn't the best part.

One of his stories attracted a brand new donor.

The donor made a whopping donation of $180,000.  Can you imagine getting a donation that large from a brand new donor? ...but this donor's story doesn't end there.

The donor wanted to do more.

Fast forward one month, and the same donor gave a second gift.  This time the donation was for 1.24 million dollars.  If you add that to the the donor's initial donation, it adds up to an unbelievable $1,420,00.00. And it all started with a story.

With better stories,
You can raise more money.

Tom's fundraising results may not be typical, but many of the past fundraising and communications people who attended the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference have reported amazing results.  Take Heidi Wong from Kin On Health Care as an example.

After attending the conference, Heidi​ completely rewrote her organization's year end appeal letter.  Instead of bringing in their usual $30,000, the new appeal letter brought in $124,000.  What made the difference?  It was her new storytelling skills.

The same thing happened when Rachelle tried out her new storytelling skills.  She was able to raise $50,000 more from her appeal letter.​  And for her small nonprofit, she was also able to increase their donor retention by 8%.

4 times more donors in 2 weeks!

In just two weeks, and with her new storytelling strategies and tools, Kelly was able to bring in 4 times the amount of first time donors.  Plus, she reactivated 40 lapsed donors and got 14 new monthly donors.

It all comes down to this...

In order to raise more money, you must get people excited to support your cause.​  And the best way to do that is by telling better stories.

At this year's Nonprofit Storytelling Conference you will learn how to tell better stories across the many aspects of fundraising and donor communications.

You'll learn how to tap into your donor's emotions.

You'll learn about digital media storytelling, major donor storytelling, visual storytelling, and telling stories at special events.  You'll learn the basics of storytelling as well as some advanced storytelling techniques - such as how to structure and implement a series of stories to increase donations and donor retention.

Welcome to a different world.

The Nonprofit Storytelling Conference is unlike any conference you've ever attended.

Your job is hard enough.

You are busy taking care of ​everyone else.  Let us take care of you.

Our goal is to create a space where you'll feel nurtured and cared for.  As you dive deep into the world of storytelling and connecting with donors, we also want you to have a great time and feel inspired when you leave.

Watch the videos below to learn what previous attendees had to say about their experience at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference.


"I felt like a guest coming to somebody's house...It feels like a retreat with like-minded people wanting to learn."

- Rishi Behari


"It is one masterclass after another of people who are motivated to go out and do something positive in the world...It's electric."

- Mary Lynn Lalonde


"I'm here for the second time...It's absolutely magical...I feel inspired!"

- Julie Mikuska


"I am LOVING this conference! ...The variety of speakers here is fabulous. This is so inspiring I really want to go to work and get started sharing my clients' stories."

- Kavya Dharmarajan


"A tremendous learning experience...A lot of times our organizations are scared to try new things, and this gives me the courage and motivation to push for it."

- Mimi Kamilar


"Chocked full of rich information...So many concrete, tangible ideas that I will be able to put to work starting tomorrow."

- Susan Segall


"I came from Israel. Even if we had only come for one session yesterday, it would have been so worth it!"

- Rachel Grunbaum


"Within the first couple of hours I texted my boss and said - BEST CONFERENCE EVER!"

- Sherry Manschot


How well do you tell stories?

Are you great at telling stories in your newsletter but not as good telling stories face to face?  Could you be better at telling stories through social media or at special events?

Raising money demands different types of storytelling.

At this year's conference, you'll be able to focus on different types of storytelling - to improve your fundraising.  You'll be able to choose the sessions you want from six different storytelling tracks.



This track focuses on story construction, and the techniques you'll need to craft compelling stories, including:

  • Story Arcs
  • Choosing the right characters (clients)
  • Building conflict
  • Story Structure
  • Words and phrases people respond to
  • Finding and collecting stories
  • Making donors the hero of your story
  • Visual Storytelling
  • Building a story culture at your organization
  • and more...


This track focuses on telling stories through digital media platforms and social media.

Learn about:

  • Finding an audience
  • Where to tell your stories
  • Crafting sharable stories
  • Using story campaigns to engage new supporters
  • Using digital media for end of year appeals
  • Using stories to steward donors online
  • Attracting attention with images
  • Using stories to start conversations
  • and more...


This track focuses on telling stories leading up to your event, at your event, and after your event.

Learn about:

  • Using stories to get people excited to come to your event
  • Crafting a money raising client story
  • Using video to heighten the emotion in the room
  • Laying out your overall event story
  • Event story themes
  • Using stories to get sponsors
  • Using stories to steward your event donors
  • and more...


This track focuses on telling stories face-to-face with donors and potential donors.

Learn about:

  • Using stories to start conversations
  • Major donor storytelling
  • Using stories to help make a powerful ask
  • Better leadership through storytelling
  • How to tap into your donor's story 
  • Donor happiness and the role of stories
  • Using stories to get donor referrals
  • and more...


This track focuses on using stories to engage donors in your newsletters, appeal letters, and other direct mail communications.

Learn about:

  • Using stories to get people to read your direct mail
  • Using stories to increasing newsletter revenue
  • The key ingredient to your story that increases donations
  • How to start your story in print and finish it online
  • How to know what stories to tell in print 
  • Using visual storytelling in print
  • and more...


Are you feeling up to a challenge? Or want some ultra specific training?

Learn about:

  • Using stories to segment your donors
  • Automating your storytelling to continually attract and engage donors
  • Grants and the use of storytelling 
  • and much more...

The best presenters

You will learn from the best.

Each of the presenters below were hand picked.  They are wonderful and caring individuals ready to help you tell your stories better.  Throughout both days of the conference, you'll be able to ask them questions directly - during the sessions and breaks, and even befriend them.  🙂  

Kivi Leroux Miller

Jeff Brooks​

Susan Howlett​

Sean Triner​

Leah Eustace​

Steven Screen​

Lori L. Jacobwith​

Jeff Schreifels

Mike Sukraw​

Julian Guthrie

Tom Ahern

Gail Perry​

Harvey McKinnon

​Jen Love

Kristin Sukraw​

Josh Hirsch​

Rachel Muir​

Diane Knoepke

Peter Drury​

Maeve Strathy​

Shanon Doolittle

John Lepp​

Beth Ann Locke​

Michelle Brinson​

Tammy Zonker​

Trent Thompson​

Chris Davenport​

Erik Lindbergh​

Brenda B. Asare​

Marc A. Pitman

Andrea Khilstedt​

Jim Shapiro​

Kristin Steele​

Mark Rovner​

Wendy Rohrbacher​

Richard Perry

Steven Shattuck​

You have unique challenges...

...and that's why there will be plenty of time for you to get personalized attention.

Introducing our new Story Labs.

With smaller groups, and added time - you get more personalized attention.​

Tom Ahern, Jen Love, and Jeff Brooks during the 2015 Story Lab

Take advantage of the "wisdom in the room".​

There will be Story lab sessions during both days of the conference.  This is where you can get your questions answered and also hear what other folks are struggling with.  You'll have direct contact with the conference speakers and hear from others in the room.  

Story Labs are a great place to get your specific questions answered.  And also a great place for discovering like-minded people from other nonprofit organizations.

Don't Miss Movie Night.

Because this was such a hit last year, we've decided to do it again.

As an added bit of fun, we'll have a special showing of a feature film on the first night of the conference.  There will be free snacks and drinks.  Stick around after the movie and learn about storytelling "Hollywood style".

Raising money should be joyful.

Raising money should be joyful... for you, and your donors.

Reduce fundraising stress and burnout.  

Come to this year's conference and learn how to make fundraising more enjoyable​.  Get inspired and excited to raise more money.  

"A fabulous conference. Best one I've ever been to."

Kathleen Ashley Stevens - Carolinas HealthCare Foundation

Don't miss a single presentation.

Because we don't want you to miss a single session, all the presentations will be recorded on video.  

You'll be able to watch and share all the strategies and storytelling goodness with your staff back at your office. This will help you and your team to better communicate and raise more money.

Certified Fund Raising Executive
CFRE Certified

Do you need credits to become a Certified Fund Raising Executive?

Get CFRE credits for each of the sessions you attend.

"That was, hands down, the best conference I've attended!!!  An incredible 2 days of learning."

Renae Goettel - Make-A-Wish America

"My brain is full, my network is larger, and my passion for helping South Dakota is at its peak! My two days at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference were nothing short of spectacular!"

Buddy Seiner - South Dakota Community Foundation

Your own personal fundraising think tank.

After the conference,  you'll be invited to join the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference facebook group.  You'll be able to meet other attendees and get their help when you're stuck for ideas or inspiration.  There's a lot of sharing and exchanging of best practices.

This private facebook group is only available for folks who get tickets to the conference.

Buy your ticket below.​

"I would send everyone I know to the conference. It was that good.  I tell people this is the best conference I have ever attended. I mean it."

Judy Whiting - OPAL Community Land Trust

SAVE $200

Get your ticket today and save $200 off the "ticket only" price of $1195.

If you can't make it to the conference in person, buy the "video only" option.​  You'll get videos of every session, in all six tracks.  Plus, you'll get all the presentation handouts. Save $200 off the regular price of $895 when you buy it today.

Get a ticket and the videos so you can share all the storytelling strategies and techniques with your staff in the office.​  Save $545 off the regular price of $1690 when you buy today.

Choose your option below.​

Video Only


  • Conference Presentations on Video
  • Post Conference Training and Support
  • Private Facebook Group

Ticket Only


  • Attend conference in person
  • Special Invitation to “Movie Night”
  • Post Conference Training and Support
  • Private Facebook Group

Ticket & Video


  • Attend conference in person
  • Special Invitation to “Movie Night”
  • Conference Presentations on Video
  • Post Conference Training and Support
  • Private Facebook Group