Elevator pitch tips: How to nail your fundraising video

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We’ve all heard of the “elevator pitch.” You’re in an elevator anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute with an investor; how can you successfully and concisely sell your business? For nonprofits in the 21st Century, donors are the investors, and you can pitch people far and wide through the internet. In this episode of Whole Whale TV, we’re here to help you bring the elevator pitch into the digital era with these 5 tips for fundraising videos.

First, why make an elevator pitch video?

Organizations across the board are pivoting to video. 77% of Americans now own smartphones, and on average watch 1,330 minutes of video per month. This shows that people want their information to be immediately accessible, digestible, and actionable. Video is an easy way to get your message out there in a world with a decreasing attention span.
Looking specifically at fundraising, studies from crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo have reported that campaigns with pitch videos raise 300% more funds than campaigns without a pitch video. More money means more impact.
But before we get to the tips, many of you might be thinking: “We don’t have the equipment or a video editor to take this on. How would we even execute this?” If you are in the 77% of Americans with a smartphone, you can do it! A pitch video doesn’t have to be Oscar-worthy in quality, and a smartphone video may even feel more authentic. With these tips, you can point and shoot your way to an engaging pitch video, even if you aren’t Steven Spielberg.

Elevator pitch tip 1: Roll the credits

Who are you and why should viewers care? Remember that it’s not just your loyal constituents who will be finding this pitch video, but their friends (and friends of friends). Give viewers a brief outline of your vision and mission and show images of your employees and volunteers. Don’t be vague and don’t be modest. Demonstrate to your audience why your organization and the people in it are awesome.

Elevator pitch tip 2: Channel Pixar

In his book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink outlines the “Pixar Pitch.” This style is modeled on the narrative structure of a Pixar film. Turn your fundraising pitch into a story using the following formula:

Once upon a time _________________.
Every day, _________________. One day, _________________.
Because of that, _________________. Because of that, _________________.
Until finally, _________________.

Source this Pixar Pitch from your mission statement, adding more details about why you need donations, where they will go, and how they’ll drive impact.

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Elevator pitch tip 3: Keep it short

Short attention spans. For video, your elevator pitch should be no more than 2 minutes.

Elevator pitch tip 4: Be human

Include human faces in your video (either as talking heads or as B-roll), and beware the curse of knowledge. Steer clear of technical or internal jargon. Explain your cause, your goals, and why you are fundraising like you are talking to your grandmother or 5-year-old nephew.

Elevator pitch tip 5: Just ask

How much do you need and what are you going to spend it on? Always end with an ask. Be clear on how much you want to raise and what you’re going to spend it on. If possible, outline the impact of different donations to make it feel tangible. For example, $5 can get Turtle a hat, $10 a sweater, and onward. Cute pictures or B-roll always help.

Now, go take a camera or a phone and start shooting your elevator pitch! Have more tips to share? Tweet them at us @WholeWhale. Looking for some fun donation buttons to go with that video – we have those too…