Best Questions to Gather Storytelling Content

There is endless data supporting what career marketers have always known, storytelling is crucial to effective marketing. It's not always a straight-forward process so before you sit down and just start writing, gather facts and personal insight to help your story connect.

Start by identifying some of your biggest advocates and ask if you can interview them. By taking a deep dive into their individual stories, you can start finding common threads that can be weaved into an impactful experience.

Prior to Start of Questioning:

·      Introduction

·      Explain the purpose of the interview

·      Clarify that they’ll have a chance to review draft copy

·      If recording, inform that you’re doing so


·      Why don't you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?

·      How did you come to be involved in with [ORGANIZATION]?

·      Tell me about your history with [CAUSE]. How did it change your life and the lives of your family members?

·      What role does [ORGANIZATION] play… what sets it apart from others?

·      How would country/region/city/world be different if it didn't exist?

·      What impresses you most about [ORGANIZATION]?

·      What are [ORGANIZATION’S] biggest strengths?

·      What would you say have been [ORGANIZATION’S] three biggest accomplishments?

·      How does [ORGANIZATION] build trust, accountability and transparency into its work?

·      Tell me about a particular person you've met, or a program you've been involved with (or a story you've read) involving [ORGANIZATION’S] work that has stood out for you

·      What are [ORGANIZATION’S] biggest challenges? Biggest opportunities?

Staff Specific:

·      What attracted you to the job?

·      On your toughest days, what makes you stay?

·      How has your role evolved over time?

·      In a few sentences, tell me about your current position and what it involves.

·      What do you love most about your job?

·      How does your work impact the general public?

·      Looking back over [ORGANIZATION’S] accomplishments, which are you most proud of?

·      What are [ORGANIZATION’S] priorities in the coming year or two (most relevant for renewal letters)?

·      In your own words, why are [DONORS / MEMBERS] important?

·      This letter is your chance to speak to [DONORS / MEMBERS]. What would you like to say to them?

·      How would you describe [ORGANIZATION] to someone who isn’t familiar with it?

·      What’s the urgency of [CAUSE]?

Donor Specific:

·      Do you remember when you first heard of [[ORGANIZATION]] and under what circumstances it was?

·      What prompted your first [CONTRIBUTION] to [ORGANIZATION]?

·      Where does your philanthropic spirit come from? What values were you brought up with?

 Legacy Specific (IF APPLICABLE):

·      What led you to consider a bequest?

·      What do you hope your bequest will help accomplish?

·      What difference do you hope [ORGANIZATION] will have made when you look 25 or 50 years into the future?

·      Can you describe any initiatives that are in their infancy now, but that will have a big impact on [ORGANIZATION’S] work and focus in coming years?

·      Why should people consider leaving a bequest to [ORGANIZATION]?

·      If you had an opportunity to speak to other donors who were considering a bequest, what would you say to them?

 Probe for Details:

·      Tell me more about…

·      Walk me through…

·      Paint a picture of…

·      How old are…?

·      What is that person’s name?

·      What did it smell like?

·      How did that make you feel?

·      What’s it like to…?

·      What went through your mind when…?

·      How did you react to…?

·      What hurdles did you face when…?

·      What prompted…?


·      Is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t touched on?

·      Remind them that they will see draft copy directly from the [ORGANIZATION]

·      Thank them for sharing their story

*Source: Watch full video from Blue Canoe


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