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20NTC Session

Everything I Know About Nonprofit Storytelling I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons


She’d been on his trail for months.

She’d spent every coin she had to get here. Every scar was a chapter in this journey to seek revenge upon the monster that devastated her village.

The air whistles throughout the icy cavern. She shivers in her armor. She cannot falter now.

Another step. Slow. Silent. She peers around the frozen stalagmite and sees it. Lounging on a pile of glittering treasure: the white dragon.

She steels herself. Takes a deep breath. She draws her bow and takes aim.


From building tension, to creating worlds that feel real, to making space for the hero to shine, we’ll break down how to tell stories that grip hearts and grab attention, whether you’re playing with twenty-sided dice or writing your next fundraising appeal.

After all, you might not be fighting dragons – but poverty, illiteracy, corruption and pollution make for great villains too.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use the elements of good storytelling to write more powerful nonprofit stories
  • Implement the tips and tricks from the session to make your existing stories more compelling
  • Explore storytelling from a place of collaboration and co-development

Target Audience

Fundraising staff looking to up their storytelling game




Kirk Schmidt

Director, Foundation Analytics, Systems, and Operations


It might seem strange that a half-elf monk committed to the tradition of the Way of the Shadow would be at a nonprofit conference, and yet here he is.

Kirk has been in the non-profit sector for over a decade, wearing many different hats from IT to fundraiser to data wrangler. However, long before he was in the nonprofit sector, he was a fantasy roleplayer, sitting around with friends spinning stories and creating a vast, imaginary world. How appropriate that the nonprofit sector relies on storytelling.

Whether from nonprofit battlegrounds or nerdy roots, Kirk hopes to bring his experiences to NTC again this year.

Charlotte Field

Senior Philanthropic Counsel

Good Works

By day, Charlotte is a fundraiser, writer, and bonafide tech nerd. By night, she’s a tiefling bard with a penchant for historical drama, a lightening-wielding high-elf sorcerer zapping foes to a crisp, or else pulling the strings behind the DM’s screen.

In her 5 years at Good Works, she’s helped a multitude of non-profits to effectively integrate digital into their fundraising, including Kids Help Phone, NCC, the Ontario SPCA, Trans Canada Trail, and the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. She honed her storytelling chops in the worlds of roleplay games, both online and tabletop. Charlotte is a member of the steering committee for Tech4Good Ottawa, a volunteer with her local CAGP chapter, and takes the Lucky feat every chance she gets. Let’s roll some dice!





March 25, 2020


1:45pm – 3:00pm



Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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