Have you ever tried to explain exactly what it is you do? Does it take you a few minutes to ramble on and finally spurt out some useful details about your group’s mission, how you operate, who you help, and where you get the money for all this? Do you find yourself blabbering like a fool, wishing you could just say one concise sentence that truly explains your group’s mission?
Imagine that you’re walking into an elevator at your local big town bank, and in walks the bank president and the president of the community foundation to ride with you. Yikes! What an opportunity you have! One of them looks at your tote bag overfilled with brochures, animal leashes, t-shirts and various publicity materials. They comment “Looks like you’ve got quite an armload there. What exactly does your group do?”
This is your chance! You have until they get off the elevator to make the case for your group, explaining your nonprofit’s mission, and your funding needs. Can you do it?
Your best bet is to be prepared ahead of time! Write down the answers to these few questions, and turn it into a mini-speech that takes you all of 90 seconds to say.
- What has your nonprofit group been doing? (Who have you served, where, what programs?)
- Where are you today?
- Where are you headed in the future?
- What will it cost to get there?
Here’s my sample:
“I volunteer with Paws, which is a non-profit animal rescue group based here in town. We’ve rescued over 5,000 homeless animals in the last 4 years using only our foster network. We’re always looking for new foster parents and anyone willing to help with fundraisers and organizing publicity so we can continue our mission of saving more animals in our community.”
If you have more time to chat, then allow them to make the next comment and work from there. They may comment on the large number of animals your group has worked with, the fact that you need more volunteers, fundraisers they’ve heard about, the fact that they once adopted an animal, the animals’ needs in your community, the fact that they are an animal lover, etc. Those few sentences have opened about 10 new conversation potentials with someone, and you’ve given them enough keywords for them to get excited about your group. Keywords I used were animals, community, volunteer, fundraiser, foster, network, and mission. Don’t forget to offer them a business card for your group! Take a few cards and write your name and e-mail or phone number on the back as a way to introduce yourself.