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Crafting an effective elevator pitch to online donors

Picture this: you’re standing in front of closed elevator doors, waiting for them to open, when a potential donor joins you. The doors open, the two of you enter, and the doors close behind you. If you don’t convince them to back your cause now, and fast, they’ll leave you at their floor without their support and will continue on their way without a second glance.

A good elevator pitch can make or break your fundraising efforts and serves as the foundation for your nonprofit’s donation landing page and website.

But how can you convince someone to donate when you don’t have much time or space for content? Herein lies the challenge to crafting the perfect elevator pitch, the bite-sized portion of content that packs a punch and convinces your target audiences to donate before they get off that proverbial elevator that is the American attention span.

First, fine-tune your headline

While it is true that every nonprofit’s donation page is different—and there are countless reasons why they may be good or bad—one element remains a consistent indicator of how successful each organization’s fundraising efforts will be. Your headline is the first thing prospective contributors will see and is one of the crucial first steps to closing the donation.

As organizations and consumers, we no longer have the luxury of time; people want to consume the messaging that they want to consume, when they want it, on their terms, and quickly. Your donation page should be structured with this in mind. You’ll need to communicate to those who visit your website or landing page who you are, what you do, what you’re asking for and why it makes an impact. The key to a great donation page headline is to be quick and impactful. Use little but deliberate verbiage that appeals to emotion and the sense of urgency. Style-wise, make it a statement that is hard to ignore.

Start pitching

Once you’ve nailed down your headline and ensured that it is emotional, urgent and concise, it’s time to illustrate to your users why they should give you their money. A guideline for length you may find helpful: below the headline on each 4aGoodCause donation page, we offer 600 characters worth of space to make your fundraising pitch. We call it your “supporting appeal” because that’s exactly what it does: supports the emotional and ethical appeals you’ve ideally presented within your imagery and headline.

Friends of Australian Wildlife Conservancy has an excellent headline and elevator pitch. The headline, “Donate and save Australia’s threatened wildlife and ecosystems,” is short, sweet and to the point. It is clearly a call-to-action that informs potential donors exactly what needs to be done and why.

The pitch beneath it reads:

“Your donation will help acquire land for the conservation of threatened species and ecosystems in Australia, conduct research into conservation and biodiversity and undertake public education regarding Australian wildlife conservation. Friends of Australian Wildlife Conservancy is registered as a 501(c)(3) charity and all donations are tax-deductible in the United States.”

This is an example of an extremely effective elevator pitch for several reasons:

  • It communicates impact and urgency in 51 words (total of 373 characters).
  • It assumes that people know nothing about you or your efforts.
  • It explicitly tells people what will be done with their money.
  • It uses visceral, emotional language.
  • It communicates how easy donating is, with tax deduction information and a donation form that immediately follows.

Nailing down a great elevator pitch can set you and your nonprofit up for success if you communicate the necessary details that make an impact. Need more help with your elevator pitch or headline strategy? 4aGoodCause is here to help. Subscribe to our email list now to have helpful guides like this one sent right to your inbox. Or, check out our blog for similar topics!


Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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