Tuesday, 22 September 2009

How do you sell your non-profit it 30 seconds?

The Ask

by ben on September 22, 2009 more at http://www.jhr.ca/ben/


How do you sell your non-profit it 30 seconds?

It's a lot tougher than it sounds. I find myself constantly changing my pitch based on who I'm talking to, what my specific ask is, how long I have to talk and, to be honest, my mood.

Lincoln at Gettysburg (circled). Two minutes and the rest is history.

Lincoln at Gettysburg (circled). Two minutes and the rest was history.

But there are a number of constants that I try to remember, including:

1) Use simple language. The number one mistake people make is to explain their work in complicated industry terms. Don't. Use simple, easy to understand language. You never want someone to walk away thinking "what the hell was that person saying?" You don't come off as smart if you confuse people with industry terms, etc. Studies show that, on average, people perceive others as smarter when they use less and more simple words to get their point across.

2) It's about the end product. Talk concisely about the end result you hope to have. How many kids you will save. How many people you will feed. Avoid the temptation to ramble on about you. Don't talk about how you are starting this great organization because of some experience you had last year. blah, blah, blah. Get to the point!

3) Be pithy. You only have a few moments to sell your wares. Tell them how you are going to address a significant problem in as few and finely constructed words as possible. The Gettysburg Address was only two minutes long.

4) Know exactly what you want from the person you're talking to. Do you want them to donate? Sign up for your newsletter? Volunteer? You've worked hard at getting someone excited about your work…don't leave them high and dry–give them something they can do to help!

5) Practice. Practice. Practice. Write down your 10 second, 30 second and 2 minute pitches. Think them through. Test them with friends and family that will give honest and constructive advice. Use them. See what works and doesn't work. Constantly improve.

The ask, or the pitch, is perhaps the single most important element for success. It will determine if people follow you or make fun of you. It will determine if people donate or not. It will determine how people perceive you as a leader of your organization. Work on it. Perfect it.

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