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How to Make a Compelling Presentation at a Donor Meeting

You got the appointment with a potential donor. Now what? It’s presentation time. Here are six helpful tips on how to make a compelling presentation at a donor meeting.

1. Believe in what you are doing

Why are you doing what you are doing? Don’t undersell yourself. A lot of times I’ve seen people walk into a meeting timid, unenthusiastic, and unconfident. They don’t believe that what they are doing is worth people’s time and resources. If you don’t believe in yourself or your organization, why should your donor? Walk into that meeting knowing that what you are asking for is important. You can do it!

2. Do your research, know your audience, and understand what’s important to them

Who are you presenting to? Is it a business person, a teacher, alumni? Find out what’s important to them. Don’t just walk in with a pre-set script that you say to everyone—tailor it to the specific type of person.

I used to work for a non-profit called InterVarsity on college campuses. In my own fundraising efforts, I spoke with many different types of potential donors. When I met with business people, I knew they were used to talking about money, so I talked to them about the numbers in my organization and directly how their money would make an impact. Whenever I met with a parent, I’d talk about how what I’m doing impacts students’ lives. If I met up with alumni, I’d ask them to share their favorite moments while they were involved in InterVarsity. The better you know your audience, the better the presentation you’ll have.

3. Share about you

Sometimes people jump quickly to the organization they are working for and how people can give to that. Instead, try connecting with them through your personal story first. Tell them about yourself and why you are passionate about what you are doing. Share the story about how you got involved in the organization and why it matters to you. Then, share more about the organization. 😀

4. Show how and why their giving will be meaningful, have an impact, and be a good return on their investment

Your donor has the opportunity to give and invest in many things—why should they invest in you? Share a meaningful and compelling story about how you and your organization has made an impact. Give them some numbers. Be specific. People like details:

  • “We have the opportunity to reach 1,000 people like this.”
  • “This isn’t just one story, but one of many of the 100s of teens we interact with.”
  • “This past year, we’ve seen 500 people impacted by this organization.”
  • “Through your $100 gift, we were able to feed 100 people.”
  • “This story all happened by a $30/month donation.”

Give numbers and show them concrete examples of how their donation will have an impact on people’s lives.

5. Share your big, compelling vision and invite them to imagine

Donors give to big, concrete visions. What’s your vision? So many times, I’ve had people share a small and vague vision—“Our vision is that we will build a strong community with each other.” So what? What does that mean? Give me a big vision with clear, concrete points.

  • “Our vision is to see 100% of the homeless youth find community in this city.”
  • “Our vision is to end hunger in all of Downtown Los Angeles.”
  • “Our vision is to reach 100 campuses in ten years.”

Give me a concrete and visible dream that I can imagine and see. Give me numbers, so I know when you’ve reached your vision. “Imagine the impact of ending hunger in Los Angeles.” That’s compelling!

6. Make an ask

Now you’ve shared your compelling vision and presentation—don’t forget to make an ask. Give your donor clear next steps on how to get involved and put the ball in your court to follow-up—something like “can I follow-up with you next week?”

Best of luck and happy fundraising!