5 Tips to Revamp (and Conquer!) Your Pitch

Preparing for a meeting with a potential donor or investor can be, well, nerve-wracking. Fundraising is, however, a necessary part of starting or growing any non-profit organization or small business, and, when done well, can actually provide you an opportunity to showcase your talent and leadership. Use these tips below to transform your pitch into an electrifying story, and put forth your most confident and grounded self.

1. No more industry jargon.

Most of us spend the majority of our time talking to co-workers or peers in the field. This means, we get very comfortable using shorthand, acronyms, and industry jargon on a daily basis. While talking to your fellow colleagues using this insider language is just part of the job, it might not serve you as well when pitching a new donor or investor that isn’t as familiar with your work. Instead, when you’re constructing your talking points, imagine you’re talking to your grandmother, or your 10-year-old nephew. Chances are, they have no idea what “sustainability,” “strategic, ” or “scale” actually mean in your specific field.

We all tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to the jargon of our industry, which serves to confuse our audience unless they are exactly as well versed in the industry as we ourselves are. Using more concrete language will bring people into your mission, and help make your point in a clear and concise way; It’s not patronizing, it’s helpful. Even if a funder or donor is an expert in the field, or already giving money to your organization or business, simple and clear messaging shows that you are able to communicate to a broader base of supporters, and potentially build innovative and cross-sector relationships. Further, your targeted funder will likely find such talking points helpful when explaining your work to their own colleagues and Board of Directors.

Not sure whether the talking points you’re currently using are jargon? Ask a friend or relative who works in an entirely different industry or sector. If he or she has no idea what you’re talking about, it might be time to revamp and simplify.

2. Start with the basics.

For the most part, it’s the Executive Director, business owner, or development team doing the pitching. These are also the people who spend every day ‘in the weeds’ living and breathing this organization or business. That means when it comes time for a meeting with a funder, donor, or investor, it can be very difficult to figure out exactly how much detail is too much.

When designing your basic pitch, start with the bird’s eye view of your organization or business: the general headlines of what you do. As your pitch goes on, your talking points become more focused on the detail of how your organization or business does its work. For example, start with your mission statement and a brief history of the organization or business, then move on to explain your specific programs and projects, your key partners, and your goals.

This type of ‘broad-to-detailed’ pitch will bring your audience along for the ride and into your world. Getting too detailed too quickly will leave your audience confused about how all the pieces add up.

Lastly, you should always always always (yes, always) hammer your points home with your organization’s impact. What are the results, both quantitative and qualitative, of your work? This includes both the hard numbers, and also the compelling stories. Be ready with these facts in every meeting you attend.

3. Set yourself apart… it’s why you exist, after all.

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. It may feel uncomfortable, or like bragging, but it’s actually just good marketing, and everybody who succeeds must learn to do it. You don’t need to throw your peers under the bus in order to explain the precise and unique role that your organization plays in the field, or the gap that your business is filling. If your organization has a slightly different bent on the issues, or your business provides a service no one else does, work it! What is your unique niche? What would happen to the infrastructure of the sector if your group wasn’t around? Whatever it is that sets you apart from your competitors or partners, your funding pitch is the time to play it up.

The truth is, there is a fight for limited resources in every industry and within every issue area. When it comes to pitching, you don’t have to step on anyone else to win, you just have to be willing to sing your own praises. There is a big difference between saying, “We do this better. Fund us, not them,” and saying “Our organization plays a crucial role in the ecosystem of education reform, and it is imperative for everyone working on these issues that our services remain open and accessible.”

Be nice, but don’t be afraid to shine.

4. Channel your inner storyteller.

Think about the best story you’ve ever heard told out loud. Whether you heard it from a children’s book read by the school librarian, or your best friend at the local bar, you know a good story when you hear it. A pitch is no different. You are telling the story of yourself, your organization or business, and its work.

Good stories all have relatively similar components: fascinating lead characters, exciting plot points, and narrators with engaging voices. Now imagine your pitch, but written and told as a story in front of a large crowd. How does this change your tone of voice? How do you use examples and human-interest anecdotes as supporting characters? What feeling do you want to evoke in your audience?

As all of us juggling multiple meetings per day know, sitting in a conference room listening to a good story is a fantastic break from boring a Powerpoint and monotonous lectures. Use your pitch and fundraising meeting as a chance to embody the role of entertainer, and be the dazzling performer who steals the show.

5.  Play the game to win.

There is nothing relaxing about asking for money. For some of us, it’s harder than others. Many women, people of color, low-income, and LGBTQ individuals (fierce, confident, and strong as we may actually be) have been socialized not to be vocal about our needs, or demand anything at all.

But regardless of who we are, our feelings about money, or the fact that our hearts race when we enter a boardroom, we all must try our very best to bring our fundraising ‘A-game,’ to play to win. This means, breathing through the anxiety, giving yourself the pep talk as you ride the subway to the meeting, and imagining yourself grounded and assertive during your pitch. Whether you’re making the biggest ask you’ve ever made, speaking in front of a lecture hall of staring faces, or simply owning that elevator introduction, admit that it’s hard, and then do your best anyway.

Odds are, you’ll surprise yourself with your ability to dig deep and pull up that inner warrior.

Interested in taking that pitch even further? Contact me for more information or to schedule a consultation at [email protected].

 

Alicia Jay is the founder and principal of Integrating Change, a non-profit and small business consulting firm based in Brooklyn, NY. She is also a coach and trainer for young activists.

132 COMMENTS

  1. 408220 556485The the next occasion I read a weblog, I genuinely hope so it doesnt disappoint me about brussels. Come on, man, Yes, it was my option to read, but I just thought youd have some thing interesting to state. All I hear can be a lot of whining about something which you could fix in the event you werent too busy looking for attention. 735336

  2. 922320 235198Good to be visiting your weblog once much more, it continues to be months for me. Nicely this post that ive been waited for so lengthy. I want this post to total my assignment within the university, and it has very same subject together along with your post. Thanks, terrific share. 695151

  3. 270409 233887I used to be far more than pleased to seek out this internet-site.. I dont even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was excellent. A whole lot more A rise in Agreeable. 468333

  4. Has anyone got any true success through HARO? It merely feels that the majority of of the reporters mounted on the organization are from the us which you do not have much anticipations from other places mainly within South Asia. Brian, is it possible to major me to any scenario studies? Thanks.

  5. Hello, Neat post. There is a problem together with your web site in internet explorer, could check this… IE nonetheless is the market leader and a good component to other folks will leave out your excellent writing due to this problem.

  6. Thanks for this glorious article. One more thing to mention is that almost all digital cameras are available equipped with the zoom lens that allows more or less of the scene to get included by way of ‘zooming’ in and out. All these changes in the aim length are usually reflected inside the viewfinder and on massive display screen at the back of the camera.

  7. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  8. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  9. The things i have continually told men and women is that when evaluating a good online electronics shop, there are a few aspects that you have to remember to consider. First and foremost, you would like to make sure to get a reputable and also reliable retailer that has obtained great testimonials and ratings from other people and marketplace people. This will make sure that you are getting through with a well-known store that provides good services and aid to their patrons. Thanks for sharing your notions on this website.

  10. Thank you for some other informative website. Where else may I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal means? I’ve a mission that I am just now running on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such info.

  11. whoah this blog is excellent i love studying your posts. Stay up the good paintings! You recognize, lots of individuals are hunting around for this info, you could help them greatly.

  12. This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  13. 856557 686345Considerably, the story is in reality the greatest on this noteworthy topic. I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly watch forward to your next updates. Saying good one will not just be sufficient, for the fantastic clarity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates! 509896

  14. I am very happy to read this. This is the kind of info that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  15. Thanks for your beneficial post. In recent times, I have come to understand that the actual symptoms of mesothelioma cancer are caused by the build up associated fluid involving the lining of the lung and the upper body cavity. The condition may start inside chest area and multiply to other areas of the body. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include fat reduction, severe respiration trouble, temperature, difficulty swallowing, and bloating of the neck and face areas. It ought to be noted that some people having the disease never experience any serious signs or symptoms at all.

  16. Awsome article and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thank you :)

  17. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  18. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking to exchange strategies with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  19. Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a reasonable price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

  20. Good day very nice website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally…I am satisfied to search out so many useful info here in the put up, we want develop more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  21. Thanks for the strategies you write about through this website. In addition, several young women that become pregnant usually do not even try and get medical insurance because they are concerned they wouldn’t qualify. Although a few states today require that insurers give coverage in spite of the pre-existing conditions. Rates on these kinds of guaranteed plans are usually bigger, but when taking into consideration the high cost of health care bills it may be a new safer way to go to protect a person’s financial future.

  22. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  23. Good site! I truly love how it is nice on my eyes it is. I’m wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which may do the trick? Have a great day!

  24. Fantastic blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!

  25. Thanks for your entire labor on this blog. Debby really likes getting into research and it’s easy to see why. Most people hear all relating to the powerful tactic you create sensible steps through your website and as well cause contribution from some other people on the topic then my child is without question starting to learn a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are doing a really good job.

  26. Also a thing to mention is that an online business administration training course is designed for individuals to be able to easily proceed to bachelor’s degree courses. The Ninety credit diploma meets the other bachelor education requirements then when you earn your current associate of arts in BA online, you will possess access to the most up-to-date technologies in such a field. Some reasons why students would like to get their associate degree in business is because they’re interested in this area and want to receive the general knowledge necessary before jumping right into a bachelor college diploma program. Thx for the tips you provide in the blog.

  27. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We grabbed a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there..

  28. Hello there I am so thrilled I found your website, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Google for something
    else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say
    thank you for a remarkable post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the great work.

  29. Good day! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had
    issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another
    platform. I would be awesome if you could point me
    in the direction of a good platform.

  30. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  31. I’m really impressed with your writing abilities as
    smartly as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a
    paid topic or did you modify it your self? Either way stay up the excellent quality writing,
    it’s rare to peer a nice weblog like this one these days..

  32. I savour, lead to I found exactly what I was having a look for.
    You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.
    Bye

  33. Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and also the power to place this short article with each other. I once again locate myself personally investing method excessive time both analysis and also leaving remarks. However so what, it was still beneficial!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here