“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” is a quote attributed to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Setting aside the unfathomable circumstances that likely preceded his statement, the point he made is well taken. Numbers alone, no matter how outrageous, do not evoke the same emotional response as one strong personal story. For this reason, frequently I will incorporate an anecdote or client story in my proposals.
I include anecdotes when I am reasonably confident that the funder has a favorable opinion of them. In my experience, smaller family foundations and corporate giving programs are receptive to anecdotes and client stories. These funders tend to “give from their hearts.” Large ...

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