Your Nonprofit Elevator Pitches Can Be Compelling Too!

January 24, 2016
5 minutes
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Have you ever found yourself face-to-face with an important prospect—who can help grow your nonprofit—and messed it up, failing to convey what you do? This happens to most of us.

You might run into a program officer of a corporate foundation at cocktail parties, fundraising campaigns, or other events. What do you say when you’re asked, “Tell me about your organization?”

You awkwardly shoot a memorized elevator pitch, which makes you look incompetent. A story is more convincing than redundant facts and statistics. So, let your story pitch itself.

It’s not only elevators where you get an opportunity to share your story and talk about your nonprofit organization. You can meet your next donor anywhere, even on the road. But whenever you do, make sure your nonprofit storytelling is persuasive.

The concept of an elevator pitch is not new. An elevator pitch is all about giving a concise presentation covering all of the critical aspects of your organization. The most important thing about an elevator pitch is its timeframe—it needs to be delivered within a few seconds. A prospect will not dedicate their entire day to you. The whole idea of an elevator pitch is not only to make your donors understand what you do but also convince them to buy into your idea.

The following tips and tricks might help you the next time you run into a potential corporate sponsor.

Talk About Your Inception Story

Let the prospects know what prompted the nonprofit’s formation. Elucidate how your organization started, the challenges it faced, and how did it establish itself over the years. Talking about the inception story might allow the donor to relate with you. 

Describe What You Do

A donor should know what your nonprofit does. You must talk about what differentiates your organization from others in the same domain, what kind of programs do you run, and how do you benefit society.

Stress Who Derives Advantage

Indicate who you aid, how you have helped them in the past, and how their life has changed because of your efforts. Learning about the beneficiaries will allow the donor to perceive the cause of your nonprofit. This might prompt them to donate.

Highlight Your Staff

Put a spotlight on your staff who run the organization and make everything happen. Talk about what they bring to the table with passion and their approach toward initiating a cause.  Every employee contributes to helping the organization achieve its goals and the potential sponsors should know about the efforts taken by the staff.

Explain the Donor’s Role

Talk about the impact that a donor can bring. If potential sponsors don’t understand their part, they will surely say no to the cause. Donors must be aware of their role. This will let the prospect realize how they can contribute, make a difference, and drive the cause forward.

Share Your Future Plans

A donor is always interested in knowing about your future plans. Tell a donor what lies ahead for your nonprofit, what are your next steps, and how you would like to make a difference in the society. This will help the donor better understand the goals of your nonprofit. Make sure you talk about the significance of your cause and why you want to bring a change.

Finally, Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch

Practice makes perfect. It’s not easy to pitch like a pro in your first attempt. In order to deliver a perfect elevator pitch, make sure you rehearse it ample times. Reading it aloud in front of the mirror can help you improve yourself. 

While you practice, you can note down the following:

  • Sentences where you stumble
  • Lengthy sentences
  • Sentences that can be shortened
  • Difficult words, if any 

You can modify your content and practice it again. 

As a final tip, make sure your elevator pitch is short and crisp. People lose concentration within seconds. Keeping your pitch to the point will make your donors listen to you.

Also, be prepared for the rejections. Every donor might not connect with you but there’s nothing to worry about. There’s always room for improvement. Work on the loopholes and give it a shot next time. In no time, you’ll learn to pitch like an expert.

Mistakes You Should Avoid While Making an Elevator Pitch 

With do’s, there are don’ts as well. Let’s find out what we shouldn’t do while making an elevator pitch!

  • Make sure you don’t oversell the benefits provided by your organization. 
  • Don’t bury your donors with dry figures and statistics. They might not be interested in the data.
  • Don’t give your prospects a roll call of your nonprofit competitors. Instead, make them understand why do you stand out.
  • Don’t miss the call to action.  If you wrap up your pitch without giving donors a way to discover more or contact you, you may miss out on golden opportunities.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to elevator pitches, storytelling is an essential part. To capture the interest of your audience and make them remember your organization, you must focus on your nonprofit storytelling in a way that is gripping and enthralling. Explain what you do and why do you do it. Donors will come to you automatically.

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