Since the dawn of time, people have loved a good story. It’s why we stay up late to finish a book. It’s why we love listening to inspiring talks. And it’s why we decide to give to one charity over another. Stories engage us like nothing else. If done right, storytelling can help you reach into the hearts and minds of donors, creating more engaging, impactful and powerful relationships with supporters, both existing and new. And it starts with your pitch.
A compelling pitch is much more than a summary of what you do — it’s a powerful tool to unlock opportunities, form relationships with investors or volunteers, attract funding, and inspire new audiences.
At The Funding Network (TFN), their mission is to enable non-profits to access the capital, skills, connections and resources they need to thrive. Over the past six years, they’ve run Pitch Coaching Workshops for hundreds of non-profit leaders who have gone on to generate millions of dollars as a result.
Here, they’ve distilled their knowledge into five fundamentals, because no matter what challenge you’re working on, your future could depend on the quality of your spiel.
Know Your Story
One of the oldest maxims of fundraising is that “people don’t give to causes; they give to people.” This is truer than ever today. The most effective pitches are from people who have a personal connection 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.
Know Your ‘Who’
Think specifically about who you’re talking to, and all the biases, attitudes, desires and needs of your audience. No pitch is static. It evolves based on the people you’re speaking with, where you are, and what value you can offer them. Be careful about using jargon or buzzwords. It can be useful to practice your pitch in front of friends or family who don’t know your sector well – if anything is unclear to them, chances are it’ll be confusing to your audience too.
Know Your ‘Why’
To quote motivational speaker Simon Sinek, ‘People do not buy what you do – they buy what you believe in’. In other words, articulate what sets you apart and why you exist. This is crucial to getting to the crux of why people should get behind you. It’s important to be solution focused too – don’t obsess about the scale of the problem, instead, share how you’re trying to solve it.
Define the Response You Want
Ask yourself, “what would I like the audience to notice?”, and “how do I want people to feel when they are listening to me?”. It’s important to focus on your body language – do you smile, move and look at the audience? It’s easy to get caught up in slides and presentation materials but your movement, voice and message are much more likely to be remembered.
Map 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. Then, finish with a strong call to action – this has the power to convert passive listeners to active supporters.
Want to Perfect Your Pitch?
TFN’s renowned Pitch Coaching Workshops are now available for charities, social enterprises, corporate and family foundations, or any purpose-driven organisations. Run as half or full day workshops, they coach leaders, boards and fundraising teams to clearly articulate their unique value proposition and their impact on the community. This is vital to success in the sector. It will enable you to meaningfully engage new audiences, deepen community engagement and secure critical funding. To find out more click here or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org – they’d love to hear from you.