2023 Sessions - Nonprofit Storytelling Conference

Nonprofit Storytelling Conference
Session Topics for 2023 

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference. 

And to celebrate, we're bringing you more sessions than ever! ... over 54 sessions!

At this year's Nonprofit Storytelling Conference you're going to learn about:

  • Finding new donors
  • How to use stories to raise a lot more money
  • Board development
  • Social media strategies to grow your community
  • Grant storytelling strategies
  • Leadership and team building
  • Storytelling at events
  • How to make powerful Asks
  • and so much more...

We'll be releasing the session titles over the next few weeks as we finalize them with our presenters. 

Read below to see what sessions have been finalized:



Dana Snyder

Your Story is Worthy Too!

As mission driven nonprofit leaders, we’re REALLY good at talking about our organization’s work. 

So good, in fact, that we sometimes lose sight of what makes us great and influential in our own right.

In this session, Dana Snyder will show you how to build meaningful connections within your community (whatever that may be!) by telling your own unique story. Because when you tell that story, you can take yourself – and your organization – to new heights.

A gifted storyteller herself, Dana will help you step away from internal self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and comparison mentality so you can become the thought leader you deserve to be.

Tania Bhattacharyya

The Storytelling Secret to Connecting Your Mission with Your Community

If you’ve ever felt like a small fish in your community’s big philanthropic pond – this session is for you.

Tania Bhattacharyya was once in your shoes. Her organization made transformative change happen. But the movers and shakers in her community had no idea.

Then she discovered this storytelling secret and used it to find new donors, get attention from the local media and get referrals (for new clients, volunteers, even board members!).

In this session, Tania will share her storytelling tactics for using LinkedIn to create a bridge between your mission and the community you serve.

You do such important work. And after this session, you’ll know exactly how to leverage the power of LinkedIn’s platform – so your community notices.

Tammy Zonker

The Applied Science of 'Awe' in Storytelling & the Donor Experience

Capture your community's attention.

If you’d like to forge strong bonds with your donors, nurture relationships, and inspire profound acts of generosity, you need to create 'awe' in your community.

In this session, Tammy Zonker will demystify the science behind awe (there’s a LOT of science) so that you can inspire your donors to do big things.

You’ll discover how awe impacts our brains, bodies, and emotions. And you’ll gain practical techniques to create awe-inspiring moments that ignite action.

Prepare to revolutionize your strategies and embark on a journey of awe that transcends boundaries, connects souls, and transforms lives!

Jen Love

Cultivating Your Curiosity and Confidence as a Storyteller

All great storytellers have a storytelling mindset.

In this session, you’ll learn how to develop your own storytelling mindset.  So you can find compelling, courageous stories and tell them naturally, joyfully and (eventually) effortlessly.

Jen Love will show you how to connect the dots between your own curiosity and the conversations you have with people in your community (beneficiaries, colleagues, donors).  

You’ll learn techniques for preparing for and interviewing clients and community members and tips and tools for curiosity-driven conversations.  And you'll also learn how to confront the concerns and barriers stopping you from having authentic conversations.

Jen will share just about everything you need to develop and nurture your own storytelling craft!

John Lepp

Creative Rule Breaking for Direct Mail Nerds

Tired of sending the same kind of donor communications year after year after year? 

Get your donor's attention and interest with something unconventional that's proven to work.

This session will help give you a fresh perspective on your direct mail -- so you can feel confident breaking rules and raising more money while you do it.

Your donors love it when you step beyond the normal nonprofit speak.  And they'll reward you by sending more (and larger!) gifts.

So if you want fresh ideas and new perspectives on how to fundraise, join John Lepp for this session.  

Pocket protectors not required for entrance (but strongly encouraged 😀).

Kristin Steele + Samantha Swaim

What Do Fundraising Events Look Like Now?

Event fundraising has changed a whole lot in the last three years. 

And if your organization raises money at events, you need to be in the room when Kristin Steele and Samantha Swaim break down what makes a fundraising event successful in 2023 (and beyond).

You'll see how old event fundraising systems are being rebuilt and how hybrid events can create a more inclusive and more connected community.

There will be a lot of pre-pandemic event fundraising myth-busting in this session!

Jeff Brooks

My 5 Worst Fails (and What You Can Learn from Them)

Ordering pineapple on a pizza.  Driving away with your coffee mug still on your roof.  

Mistakes are embarrassing. 

But fundraising mistakes?  Those can cost you dollars and donors. 

Jeff Brooks has made every fundraising mistake under the sun.  And in this session he'll share 5 mistakes that you're probably making, too.

So stop losing money.  Stop losing donors.   

You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  And you’ll learn as Jeff helps you put the coffee mug back in your car and order the right kind of pizza!

Reuben Herzl

The Future of Nonprofit Video is Human

Newsflash: Video ain’t just for fundraising any more.  

And in this session, Reuben Herzl will take you on a journey into the future of nonprofit video, where human-centered content creates deeper connections between your organization and the communities you serve.  

You’ll discover the tools and platforms you can use to create personalized and interactive experiences for your donors, staff and community. That means using video to onboard volunteers, train employees, build community and cultivate trust among your donors.  

Want to unlock the full potential of video?  This is the session for you.

Rachel Zant

A Different Perspective: How to Tell Your Organization’s Story Using Multiple Points of View

Donors love a good story.  And you love telling good stories.  

But what do you do when your storytelling starts to feel a little .. stale?  You ask Rachel Zant for inspiration!  

In this session, Rachel will help you identify new perspectives or points of view for the stories you tell.  

You’ll learn how to use different voices to tell authentic and compelling stories.  And you’ll learn Rachel’s interview tips to help ‘dig deep’ to find the most emotional part of your storyteller’s story.  

All of this adds up to better, fresher stories and deeper connections with your donors! 

Lori L. Jacobwith

What Every Fundraiser Needs to Master: Your Origin Story

Quick – what’s your origin story?  

A compelling origin story can be a powerful tool for engaging donors, beneficiaries, community leaders … everyone.  

An origin story is an exercise in being vulnerable, and it can help establish rapport and trust with other people.  And it can help reduce the fear we all have when meeting with donors.  

You need an origin story!  

And in this session, master storyteller Lori L. Jacobwith will walk you through a simple process to help you create one – or improve the one  you already have.  

When you leave this session you’ll have an origin story AND the skills and confidence to tell it.

Erica Waasdorp

How to Upgrade and Keep Your Monthly Donors

Learn the strategies that will help you bring in larger and more consistent donations.

In this session, monthly donor fundraising expert Erica Waasdorp shares the magic combination of stories and tools to apply to steward the monthlies you have.  You’ll learn the best ways to keep them and to ask them for an extra gift or upgrade.

If you don’t have a strategy for asking your monthly donors to upgrade their giving, then you need to come to this session.  

You’ll leave the session with simple ways you can start raising more money right away.  And you’ll leave the session with strategies for how to keep your donors giving to you longer.

Kristin Steele + Samantha Swaim

Please Just Tell Me What to Do With My Event

Do you want your event to raise the most money and bring the most awareness to your organization?  If so, COME TO THIS SESSION!

Events have become more complicated since the pandemic. If you’re not doing a hybrid event, then you are not raising as much as you could be.  And you’re not engaging as many of your donors who would like to support your organization.

In this session, Kristin Steele and Samantha Swaim will demystify the hybrid event format for you.  They’ll also give you three different event plans you can implement right away.  And because the plans are ‘good, better, and best’ you’ll learn something no matter how much time or flexibility you have.  

Oh!  And there’ll be actual event case studies, too!

So if you’re looking to raise the most money and engage the most donors at your next event, come to this session.

Jen Love + Steven Screen + Leah Eustace + John Lepp + Tom Ahern + Jeff Brooks

Storytelling Masterclass

What do you get when six all-time great direct mail fundraisers get together on the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference Stage to talk shop and share?

A whole lot of storytelling goodness, that's what. A masterclass of this magnitude has never happened before. There will be myths busted and best-practices unpacked. You're going to laugh a lot and leave smarter!

Kristin Sukraw

Story Finding: 3 steps for Finding Your Best Stories... Even if you don't think you can get any

If you don’t know where to start in finding your best stories, this session is your roadmap.

Whether you are a nonprofit with frontline access to your storytellers or an organization that is a few steps removed, this is for you!

Kristin Sukraw will walk you through how to craft a purposeful storyteller list, conduct insightful Discovery Interviews and ultimately how to choose the best storyteller for your initiative.

Steven Screen

How to become a Million Dollar Organization

If your organization only brings in a few hundred thousand dollars but wants to cross the million dollar threshold, then this session is for you.

In this session, Steven Screen will show you what skills, strategies, and processes you’ll need in order to move to the next level of growth.  You’ll leave with an action plan that will help you become a million dollar organization.

Reuben Hertzl

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Fundraising Videos

Step into the world of fundraising videos and discover the process behind authentic storytelling.

Drawing from his experience in creating documentary videos for gala fundraisers, Reuben will share the best strategies for finding powerful and authentic stories, as well as working with creative partners to create compelling content. 

Whether you're a nonprofit fundraiser or a non-filmmaker, this session will provide valuable insights into creating successful fundraising videos that resonate with your audience.

Amy Lazoff

Charting Your Course: Creating a Annual Membership Plan

Membership has a lot of moving parts, from acquisition to renewals and upgrades, working to turn members into donors, and more – how do you blend all these pieces together? Cruise into this session where you’ll sail away with templates for an annual membership communications plan, stewardship grid, membership appreciation month ideas, and more.

Check back as more sessions get listed