HELP TELLING STORIES

Effective stories start with a theme, build with details that illustrate the theme, hit you with an “a-ha” moment, re-visit the theme, position the reader as the hero (not Cat Town!), and make a call-to-action.

If you're feeling stuck use a writing prompt to jump start your story telling:

  • When did Cat Town's mission really hit home for you?
  • What's a transformation you saw that stuck with you?
  • Is there a medical case cat whose story really hit home?
  • How has the Forgotten Kitten Project changed your mind about under socialized cats?
  • Who was a cat you doubted could get adopted, but later suprised you by going home?
  • What's a stigma you have helped break about vulnerable cats (FIV, black cats, sick cats, etc) and how did you do it?
  • What first inspired you to donate to Cat Town?

And if you're looking for inspiration, explore our Stories Library.

Here are some examples to help you get started:

Example 1: A Cat Story

  • Not every cat is happy in a cage. (THEME)

  • That was certainly the case for Fluffy. She was shut down after being surrendered, and hid under a blanket all day. No one could touch her. No one could picture bringing her home. (DETAIL)

  • But when Cat Town took her in, and I sat with her in her Studio, I saw a totally different cat. Fluffy climbed straight into my lap and started purring. (A-HA)

  • She had been afraid at the shelter, but taking her out of her cage gave her the confidence she needed to relax and be herself. Now everyone she meets knows how sweet she is. I know she’ll get adopted soon. She’s irresistible. (RE-VISIT)

  • There are so many more cats like fluffy waiting for a chance to prove they’re adoptable, but they need a change of scenery to feel brave. (HERO)

  • You can help them get to Cat Town by making a donation right now. (CTA)


PUT IT ALL TOGETHER:

Dear FIRST NAME,

Not every cat is happy in a cage. That was certainly the case for Fluffy. She was shut down after being surrendered, and hid under a blanket all day. No one could touch her. No one could picture bringing her home. But when Cat Town took her in, and I sat with her in her Studio, I saw a totally different cat.

Fluffy climbed straight into my lap and started purring.

She had been afraid at the shelter, but taking her out of her cage gave her the confidence she needed to relax and be herself. Now everyone she meets knows how sweet she is. I know she’ll get adopted soon. She’s irresistible.

There are so many more cats like fluffy waiting for a chance to prove they’re adoptable, but they need a change of scenery to feel brave.

You can help them get to Cat Town by making a donation right now. <LINK TO YOUR CAMPAIGN>

Thank you!

YOUR NAME

PS - One randomly selected person who donates to my campaign is going to get $20 to spend in Cat Town’s online store! You can shop for yourself AND save a life with your donation!

Example 2: A Volunteer Story

  • There are more hours in the day than there ever used to be. (THEME)

  • I’m busy, like everyone else. I work hard, like everyone I know. But when Cat Town told me about Fluffy needing help building confidence, I looked at her face and knew I had to step up. I got special training, and I carved out three hours every week to visit her. Now, I can’t imagine going back to my life before becoming a volunteer for Cat Town. (DETAILS)

  • It turns out, when you’re doing work that fills your life with meaning, there’s always enough time. (A-HA)

  • Now I watch less TV. I’m not on Facebook as much as I used to be. Instead, I’m connecting with a little cat who needs my help, and showing her how to feel safe. (RE-VISIT)

  • Cat Town pulls scared cats from the shelter every week. And when they do, I’m there to help them. But they depend on donations to support these scared animals. (HERO)

  • You can help me save lives by donating to my campaign. (CTA)


PUT IT ALL TOGETHER:

Dear FIRST NAME,

You might not believe me, but it feels like there are more hours in the day than there ever used to be. Yes, I’m busy, like everyone else. I work hard, like everyone I know. I used to end my days exhausted and never thought I could find time to do more. But when Cat Town told me about Fluffy needing help building confidence, I looked at her face and knew I had to step up. I got special training, and I carved out three hours every week to visit her. Now, I can’t imagine going back to my life before becoming a volunteer for Cat Town.

It turns out, when you’re doing work that fills your life with meaning, there’s always enough time.

Now I watch less TV. I’m not on Facebook as much as I used to be. Instead, I’m connecting with a little cat who needs my help, and showing her how to feel safe. It makes me so happy.

Cat Town pulls scared cats from the shelter every week. And when they do, I’m there to help them. But they depend on donations to support these scared animals — especially during the summer when the shelter gets so very crowded. You can help me save lives by donating to my campaign. <LINK TO YOUR CAMPAIGN>

All my love,

YOUR NAME

PS - Last year I volunteered every week. That’s 156 hours. This year, I’m hoping to raise $5 for every hour I plan to give. I hope you’ll support my campaign to help me reach my goal!

Example 3: A Donor Story

  • When you go through times, you lean on your community. (THEME)

  • Your community can give you hope, or support, or if you aren’t lucky, they can ignore you in your hour of need. But we all have the opportunity to create a community we can be proud of by shaping it with an open heart. (DETAILS)

  • The cats Cat Town helps are often overlooked by our community. They’re usually sick, or scared, or old. In a shelter cage, they freeze up or lash out. But they’re our responsibility, and they don’t deserve to be forgotten. (RE-VISIT)

  • I’m not only donating to help these cats, I’m fundraising for Cat Town because they make my community a better place to live. And I want to help Oakland shine. Every time Cat Town pulls a vulnerable cat from the shelter, we rise up together. Every time, we make sure animals have a voice, and that they have a chance at making someone’s life better through their love. I’m writing to you because you’re an important part of my community, and this is a cause I’m passionate about. (HERO)

  • Today, I hope you’ll make Oakland a place we can both be proud to call our home by donating to Cat Town. (CTA)


PUT IT ALL TOGETHER:

Dear FIRST NAME,

The past year has been rough for many of us, but it’s taught me this: when you go through times, you lean on your community — your friends, family, and neighbors. Your community can give you hope, or support, or if you aren’t lucky, they can ignore you in your hour of need. But we all have the opportunity to create a community we can be proud of by shaping it with an open heart.

The cats Cat Town helps are often overlooked by our community. They’re usually sick, or scared, or old. In a shelter cage, they freeze up or lash out. But they’re our responsibility, and they don’t deserve to be forgotten.

I’m not only donating to help these cats, I’m fundraising for Cat Town. That makes my community a better place to live, and I want to help Oakland shine. Every time Cat Town pulls a vulnerable cat from the shelter, we rise up together. Every time, we make sure animals have a voice, and that they have a chance at making someone’s life better through their love.

I’m writing to you because you’re an important part of my community, and this is a cause I’m passionate about. Today, I hope you’ll make Oakland a place we can both be proud to call our home by donating to Cat Town.

With gratitude,

YOUR NAME

PS - I want you to see the difference Cat Town makes for yourself, so for every post of mine you share on social media, I’m giving you an entry in my personal raffle. The winner gets two tickets to visit Cat Town. Please help me spread the love!


If you'd like to explore compelling story telling techniques we recommend visiting Jessica Mastors' website. Jessica Mastors is a story telling expert, and writes a new story or storytelling technique every Sunday. Visit her website to learn more.

Back to the Help Center