When Mark starts telling me a story he’s told me a hundred times before, I do something kind of strange.  I ball the front side of my shirt up into my fist (see photo) and I look at him. Cuban_Tip

I learned this from my mother. She tells me that growing up in Cuba, she would do this to show that she’d heard a story before without having to say, “I’ve heard this 100 times already.”

It might be a Cuban thing… or maybe it’s more of a Martinez (my mother’s family) thing. But regardless, it’s a good thing to remember as you are crafting your own fundraising stories.

Yes – we have to tell stories that showcase the work our organization does — which often are similar. But how can we make those stories feel fresh? If people think they’ve heard the story before, they will stop reading.

The best way to make a story feel fresh is to pump up your lead and do something unexpected.

For example, I’ve written this blog post a million times before. But I’ve never started with the story about my mother. That’s fresh — a different take on a familiar topic.

You can do the same thing with your stories. For example, you could start a story out like this:

It’s hard to miss Huston Bireetwa when you go to the St. Apollo Health Center, located in the Wakiso District of Kampala, Uganda.

Or you could start the story out like this:

“Every time Ana sees me, she gives me free bananas.” That’s how one Ugandan woman thanks Huston Bireetwa for helping her learn about and get family planning.

Tell the same story.. yes. But tell it like you’ve never told it before.