Make your pitches sing

If a prospective donor or funder invites you to make your case for support, make the best of the opportunity.

The prospect’s time is precious. So make your pitch short and stick to the point.

Start with the community need you address. Who is affected, and how? Paint a quick picture that shows the impact on people. If you have a statistic that drives that impact home, use it. But do not flood your prospect with data.

Then explain, in just a sentence or two, what is causing the problem. Chances are likely  the cause is complicated, so make it easy to understand.

You already should know the causes the donor or funder cares about. So show the connection between your prospect’s values and the community need you address.

Then explain your solution. How will it work? How will you measure success?

Details matter, so use facts and give a specific example of an individual or group of people whose lives have or will improve through your program.

And remember who you are talking to. How will your work advance the values and interests of the donor or prospect? What will be the return on their investment?

Avoid hype but share your passion for your cause. Your conviction and commitment can help seal the deal.

And make sure you have a short brochure or one-page summary you can leave with your prospect that explains, simply and clearly, the community need you address, its cause, your solution, why it works, how you will measure success, and the difference you will make in the lives of the people you serve.

Your pitch should be a story that makes the donor or funder want to get involved. So make it sing.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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