A convincing pitch is a powerful tool to unlock opportunities, form key relationships with investors or volunteers, attract funding, and inspire new audiences. And, for charities and social enterprises in particular, a single pitch could really be “make or break”.
At The Funding Network (TFN), our mission is to enable grassroots non-profits to access the capital, skills, connections and resources they need to thrive. Over the past four years, we’ve run Pitch Coaching Workshops for hundreds of social entrepreneurs and they’ve gone on to generate millions of dollars as a result.
We understand it’s becoming increasingly difficult for charities and social enterprises to engage supporters year on year, yet they desperately need funding and resources. And, businesses face similar challenges engaging their staff in CSR activities, highlighting purpose beyond profit. It’s so important they’re given the tools and knowledge to share a compelling, authentic story that is captivating and memorable.
So, we’ve distilled the five fundamentals to perfecting your pitch, because no matter what sector you’re working in, your future could depend on the quality of your spiel.
Know Your Story
It is important to speak from your own experience; sharing your passion about why you love what you do, and why it is so important.
One of the oldest maxims of fundraising is that “people don’t give to causes; they give to people with causes”. And, this is still true today. The pitches that really shine are those by individuals who have a personal connection, an authentic relationship to the cause they’re promoting. This injects passion, life and connection into the cause you are promoting as well as demonstrating a strong belief in your work. It’s the vulnerability, the passion and the personal stories that draw people in and present a stronger, more compelling, and more memorable pitch.
Know Your WHO
No pitch is static. It evolves based on who you’re talking to, where you are, and the essential points you wish to convey. That’s not to say you need to do extensive research on your audience, but it is important to do the necessary checks to make sure your language, key messages, and story will resonate. Then, you need to vary your story accordingly.
Part of knowing your who is about making sure you speak their language. This means you need be careful about using industry-specific buzzwords. While it’s easy get caught up and speak a language specific to your sector, make a conscious effort to drop the jargon and communicate in a clear, effective way that is appropriate for your listeners so they don’t get lost.
Know Your WHY
To quote motivational speaker Simon Sinek, ‘People do not buy what you do – they buy what you believe in’. Knowing and clearly articulating the “why” of your organisation can be challenging, but it’s incredibly important. Knowing your point of difference is crucial to getting to the crux of why you exist, and why people should get behind you.
It’s important to be solution focused – don’t spend too long focusing on the scale of the problem, instead share how you’re working to solve it.
Define Your Target Responses
The only measurable form of communication is the response. It is important to ask yourself, “what would I like the audience to notice?”, and “what do I want people to feel when they are listening to me?”. It’s also important to focus on your body language when pitching an idea – do you smile, do you move, do you look at the audience?
It’s all about the sensory stuff that most people ignore, as most presenters just concentrate on the slides and what they are saying, not how they’re saying it. So, ditch the PowerPoint slides and focus instead on your movement, your voice and the message you are trying to convey.
Map out Your Pitch
You need to have a clear plan of what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Always start with a powerful opening to grab the audience’s attention and draw them in.
When considering your story arc, think about: why you are there, what the benefit of your work is, its impact and its relevance to your audience. Then, finish with a strong call to action – this has the power to convert your passive listeners, to active supporters.
Do You Want to Refine Your Pitch?
We’re excited to announce TFN’s renowned Pitch Coaching Workshops are now available for charities, social enterprises, corporate and family foundations, and purpose-driven businesses. Run as half or full day workshops we teach leaders, boards and teams to clearly articulate their unique value proposition and their impact on the community – vital to success in the sector. This will enable you to meaningfully engage new audiences, deepen community engagement and secure critical funding. To find out more click here or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Pitch coaching participant and Founding Director of Manjeri, Nick Harrington says, “TFN’s pitch coaching has had an immense impact across all our communications. I have no doubt the tips on clarifying and delivering a succinct, focused narrative have directly contributed to our capacity to obtain additional funding.”
Nina Stott is the Marketing & Communications Manager at The Funding Network Australia. She believes social innovation happens at the intersection of the public, private and social sectors, and is passionate about creating a fair, prosperous and sustainable future.