A successful and powerful pitch can make all the difference for you and your social enterprise. It should be more than just blabbing on about a problem (the internet can provide information about that), and it should certainly be more than just reading directly off a slide.
You’ve got to demonstrate that you and your organisation have an invaluable role to play in whatever issue you’re going to tackle. You have to present the ‘who’ and the ‘how’ in a clear and concise way, and in a way that connects with your audience.
Regardless if you’re a budding social entrepreneur or a seasoned professional, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to a successful pitch. So, without further ado, here are some of our top tips for perfecting your pitch.
1. Start with a Powerful Elevator Pitch
Our attention spans are shorter than ever these days, which makes your elevator pitch all the more important. Regardless if you plan to speak for 10, 20, or even 60 minutes, those first two minutes are crucial.
So, before you hit the stage, make sure that you have your ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ down. Be sure that you’re able to communicate it clearly, and do so in a way that is not only memorable but also gets your audience engaged for the rest of what you’ll be sharing.
You know what this means—practice, practice, practice. Share your elevator pitch with your partner, with your friends, with your team, with your cat, with the people in the… elevator. The more you share it (practice), the better your pitch will go.
2. Simply Outline the Social Problem
Keyword here: outline. While it’s important to give your pitch some context and share the narrative that drives your social enterprise’s actions, many people are already aware of the big problems faced by society today.
We know, you could spend hours talking about the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, homelessness, or the injustices faced by certain segments of society. However, many people are already familiar with these issues—or they can get their own summary via an online search.
What people aren’t aware of, however, is how you and your organisation plan to tackle these problems.
3. Spend Time Articulating the Social Solution
The bulk of the pitch should be sharing all of the unique and brilliant ways you and your social enterprise are going to tackle the problem! How does your approach stand out from what’s been done? Are you even aware of other, similar efforts? What situates your ideas for success? Are you clear on the steps you’re going to take?
You should be able to articulate exactly what your organisation is going to mean for your customers, your target communities, your competitors, your team, and even the people in your audience!
4. Share Who You Are
Once you’ve blown everyone away with your predicted social impact and how you’re going to solve X, Y, and Z, there will be one question on people’s mind: Who is she/he? How are they capable of accomplishing this?
In the panic that may ensue when someone is pitching, they commonly forget to talk about themselves and their credibility. Or, they may want to modestly avoid any personal details.
Put these qualms aside and realise that it’s okay to share how and why you came up with this amazing idea for a social enterprise! Feel free to talk about the education and experience that got you to where you are today, and assure people that your confidence and capabilities will contribute to the success of your organisation.
In other words, give them something to believe in—and that something to believe in is you and your team.
5. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
For many people, simply pitching a social enterprise is already outside of the comfort zone. However, you should take this to the next level by pitching to mentors and other people who challenge you.
If you have several opportunities to pitch your social enterprise (regardless if it’s in front of a large audience or to just a single mentor, stranger, professor, etc.), take the opportunity! Different people will come with different understandings of social entrepreneurship, and as such, they’ll be able to ask unique questions that will truly help you understand who/what your organisation is and what issues it can tackle.
Throughout this process, you’ll find how your story resonates with an audience (or doesn’t) and you’ll be able to tailor it to become more effective.
6. Know Your ‘Investment Story’
Your compelling ‘investment story’ is one that should connect with any potential investors in the audience. Even if you aren’t necessarily pitching people for money, having a good idea of an investment story (and sharing it) could provide beneficial opportunities you aren’t even searching for.
With this said, you shouldn’t be afraid to talk financials. This could be as basic as sharing how much capital you’ll require, how much you’ll need for staff expenses, and how much you’ll use in marketing (i.e. to attract customers).
Plus, the more you appear to know about what you’ll do, what problems you might run into, and what will be required to solve them, the more convinced your audience will be that you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s.
7. Have Fun and Stand Out
Think back to some of the pitches you’ve seen before—which ones stand out? We’re more drawn to those who let their personality shine through, who appear confident, who aren’t afraid to stumble over words and then joke about it.
So, turn your pitch into something fun. Don’t be afraid to laugh and smile (even if you’re faking it).