You know that stories are powerful tools to raise voices and raise money. Globally, we’re seeing the storytelling at work in the swelling of the Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and #StopAsianHate movements.

But often in the charitable sector, these stories are raw, heart-wrenching, and triggering. How can you tell them authentically, honouring the bleak and the bitter without exploiting it?

In this panel, we’ll explore responsible, respectful storytelling.

Panelists will draw from their professional experience to discuss how they do justice to the most sensitive stories, from childhood illness to intimate partner violence to LGBTQ2S+ youth and more. They’ll explore when they lean into the uncomfortable and emotional, when they pull back, and why. Finally, they’ll reflect on how they balance the truth of a story with its larger implications for the person whose story is being told, their family, their community, and society as whole.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the deep responsibility of the storyteller to tell the story, and to tell it well.

  • Talk about the concept of authentic storytelling, and the ethics of being true to a person’s lived experience - even (and especially) when it feels uncomfortable for the reader

  • Discuss how emotions influence impact giving, when it’s okay to pull emotional triggers (and when it’s not), and what kind of emotional experience we aim to give a donor

  • Tips and tools to gather sensitive stories and empower the people whose stories you’re telling

Cheyanne Richardson

Resource Development & Communications Associate

Interval House

Cheyanne is a passionate fundraiser, driven in equal measure by delivering big-picture results and exceptional personal experiences for stakeholders. Cheyanne is most inspired when working with individuals and organizations who are passionate about building meaningful, collaborative relationships for positive change.


Cheyanne currently works as the Resource Development and Communications Associate at Interval House in Toronto. As a part of the Resource Development Department, Cheyanne leads various fundraising and communications projects including direct mail, monthly giving, annual donor stewardship, online engagement, and communication campaign management. 


Cheyanne is passionate about contributing her fundraising skills to create positive change and has been working and volunteering with non-profits for over ten years, including the Donor Communications and Stewardship Officer at Nature Canada, and the Community Stewardship Coordinator Rare Charitable Research Reserve, and various volunteer roles with Canadian Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and Wilfrid Laurier Alumni Association.  After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University, Cheyanne went on to complete a post-graduate certificate in Fundraising and Resource Development at Georgian College and Volunteer Management Certificate from Conestoga College.

Neha Trivedi

Manager, Direct & Digital Marketing

SickKids Foundation

Neha is passionately committed to building and nurturing meaningful connections between donors and the causes they support. She is currently the Manager of Direct and Digital Marketing at SickKids Foundation and firmly believes in developing strategies that allow people to make a difference in the world in the way they care about. When resources have been constrained, Neha has successfully applied small changes to effect better and stronger results over time at the organizations she’s worked at.

She holds an MBA from Schulich School of Business and the certified fundraising executive designation. She is a dedicated community volunteer and serves as a director on the Board of Breakaway Addictions Services.

Beyond work, Neha loves spending time with her family, especially her six-year-old son.

Holly Wagg, MA, CFRE

Partner & CEO

Good Works

Holly Wagg, CFRE is a Partner and CEO and Chief Fundraising Architect at Good Works. She’s the co-author of You Can’t Take It With You: The Art and Science of Legacy Fundraising (the 2nd edition of Iceberg Philanthropy), the go-to book on planned giving that shows fundraisers how very ordinary donors make extraordinary gifts to charity in their wills. Through her legacy, digital, and direct mail fundraising, Holly has had the privilege to work with clients like WWF Canada, Kids Help Phone, Nature Conservancy of Canada, CARE Canada, Ontario SPCA, SOS Children’s Villages Canada, and the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

Holly co-founded the Ten Oaks Project in 2004, for which she was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in the queer community before she cracked 30. She’s a widowed, and re-married, mother of six (two adopted, one bio and three step children) who does an abundance of yoga, CrossFit, hiking, and eats of all the ice cream to stay grounded.

Erica Webster, MPNL

Copywriter & Communications Consultant

Erica Webster

Erica Webster (she/her) is a copywriter and communications consultant who specializes in working with non-profits to translate their mission into a cohesive and compelling call to action. She believes the best writing is “heartspun”: great stories told with both passion and purpose. From world-leading hospitals to grassroots organizations, Erica’s words have raised millions of dollars to help non-profits change the world for the better.


With more than a decade of experience in communications and development, including six years in the social housing sector, Erica holds a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership along with a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from Carleton University. She also earned her Diploma in Public Relations (Honours) from Algonquin College, sparking her love of a good communications strategy.


Erica is the Vice-President of the Ten Oaks Project, a charitable and volunteer-driven organization that engages and connects children and youth from 2SLGBTQ+ identities, families, and communities. She lives with her wife and their two rambunctious kids in Ottawa, on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation. In her generally non-existent free time, you can find Erica nerding out over home decor and abandoning craft projects despite her best intentions.