How To: Craft an Elevator Pitch

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I find that breaking down a mission or project to a thirty-second pitch is extremely difficult. There are so many different and amazing aspects of what my organization does. How can I possibly include everything I’ll need?

Having the ability to schedule a meeting with a potential donor or partner can be very challenging. When an opportunity presents itself, even if it is for only a minute, it is good to have a pitch prepared to introduce the organization and ask for what you want.

What should you include in a pitch?

It really depends on who you are talking with and why. Are you trying to create a partnership? Gain a sponsor for an event? Fund a program? Recruit a new board member? Tailoring your pitch to the situation helps you focus on the key points you need to address. The three most important things I have found to include in a pitch are:

  1. Mission Statement (1-2 sentences)
  2. What you are asking for (1 sentence)
  3. What’ s in it for them? (1-2 sentences)

Be clear and concise!

Obviously what you say is important, but how you present yourself and your pitch also influences your success.

I’m a chronic mumbler. My brain moves through thoughts very quickly and my mouth has trouble catching up. Also, talking to new people can cause me moderate to severe anxiety. To make the best pitch I can, I have to remind myself of these steps:

  1. Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror. This will help you keep a steady, clear pace in the future.
  2. 30 seconds isn’t as quick as you think. Time lasts longer than you think. You want to fit a lot of information in a short period of time, but don’t rush through it so quickly that the person you’re talking with can’t understand you.
  3. Speak passionately. If you don’t show how much you care , no one else is going to become interested.
  4. Have contact information at the ready. Whether you get a yes, no, or maybe, you want them to have your contact information, and you want to get theirs.

 

Sometimes people say yes, sometimes they say no. Other times you might get completely blown off before you can begin your pitch. The non-profit sector can be unpredictable. Having a pitch rehearsed helps you always be prepared, whether you cross paths randomly or at a planned event. A great pitch shows you know your organization inside and out, and will instill confidence in whoever you are speaking with.

Remember, the worst that could happen is that they say no. Get out there and good luck!

4 thoughts on “How To: Craft an Elevator Pitch

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