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Develop Your Pitch

Elevator Pitch

Having a polished short pitch prepared not only reduces the stress of asking for funds in a formal setting, it also increases the probability that the words will flow smoothly when you explain your work in casual settings. You’ll be able to adapt your pitch to your conversation partners’ interests, affinity, etc.

Activity 1: Developing an Elevator Pitch Read your central story from Lesson One aloud. Begin with a comment about your most compelling personal connection to the work, then a sentence about the problem your nonprofit is solving, a sentence about how your work helps the community, and a sentence about what’s next for your nonprofit. Wrap up with a quick call to action.

Now, imagine yourself in a variety of situations. How might you adapt the story if you were

  • Giving a quick introduction at your nonprofit event
  • Chatting with potential donors or volunteers at a party
  • Following up by email after someone gave you their card
  • Introducing yourself and asking a potential partner to schedule a meeting with you

Discuss with Other Weavers

Long Pitch

Developing a long form pitch requires in-depth knowledge of your nonprofit’s strategy, finances, and operations. It’s a labor intensive process that pays off whenever you secure a new opportunity to submit a grant or deliver a fundraising presentation.

Activity: Central Story Expansion

Collect what you know about the problem your nonprofit was created to address.

  • How did it come about?
  • Where is it happening?
  • What does it feel like?
  • What does it look like?
  • What are the root causes?
  • Who is studying the problem and what do they say?

Define your approach to solving the problem.

  • Where do you do your work?
  • What work are you doing?
  • How did you settle on this approach?
  • How do you know it works?
  • How efficient is it?
  • Who is on your team? Who supports your work?

Map out your vision and how audience can help

  • What does progress look like? How long will it take to achieve results?
  • What will it cost to do the work?
  • What milestones have you met already and what are you striving to achieve?

When you have gathered the answers to these questions, you are ready to create a pitch deck, deliver a pitch presentation, engage a major donor in an “ask” conversation, or write a grant proposal. In each of these formats, you’ll be sharing the same information about your work and asking your reader/listener to make a significant investment.

Test your knowledge

For which of the following situations would you deliver a formal pitch?