“The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is a benefit party for Operation Breakthrough. They are a Kansas City organization dedicated to helping children living in poverty right here in Kansas City; it was founded by 2 nuns out of their home and now helps over 600 children every day! The party has raised over $75,000 for Operation Breakthrough and our goal this year is to raise another $30,000!”
This, my friends, is an elevator pitch and you’re crazy to NOT have one!
First and foremost, a quick explanation for those new to the term. An elevator pitch is simply a short summary of your organization and/or event. One that you could use in the time it takes to ride in an elevator – 1 to 3 minutes. It should have enough talking points, those “WOW” factors to get attention, with something about the beneficiary or how funds are used and how you need help. Aileen Pincus states in The Perfect Elevator Speech, that this type of pitch should “sum up unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others.”
For The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, there are actually two elevator pitches. The first (above) focuses more on Operation Breakthrough, the beneficiary. The good they do, how they were started, and then how the party benefits them. The second pitch is the “backup” and focuses more on how kick ass the party is – what happens during the event, the entertainment, the attendee demographics, the open bar, and of course the abundance of ugly Christmas sweaters! The beneficiary and the fundraising are of course mentioned in this pitch as well, but not as the focus.
Why the two versions? It really comes down to the audience. If you’re talking to a businessman in a suit, you’re probably going to use the first version. It’s geared more toward potential cash sponsors and media outlets. If you’re talking to girls in their late 20’s looking for a night out, you’d probably be better with the second pitch. It’s focused more towards individual attendees, auction donors and potential in-kind donors such as photo booths and entertainment.
“How do I create my elevator pitch?” Great question and I’m glad you asked! Here’s a few tips:
- Make a list of your important points. This would include your organization description, your event description, your demographics, your beneficiary, your past funds raised, etc. Highlight keywords in these points and group similar points together.
- Write several sentences, about 4 to 7, to address these points. Avoid any jargon or unknown abbreviations. Use more active voice and words and avoid passive.
- Edit your paragraph to be brief but concise. Get across your main points with brevity and sincerity. Your excitement about the event should come through in the words selected and the flow of the content.
- Practice your pitch by reading it OUTLOUD over and over again. Memorize it then practice your timing and delivery. You want your audience to get excited about your event and you want that excitement to come across every time you use your pitch, even though you might be repeating the same paragraph for the 900th time!
- Use your pitch whenever someone asks about your event. Also, have additional facts and details at the ready in the back of your mind. You might need to switch tactics during your pitch or, what you’re really planning for, is that the conversation will continue into the lobby.
- Use the pitch in promotional materials – print and digital. Pitches are also good fodder for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube & Pinterest account descriptions. Those descriptions also need to be short and sweet with specific points to get the right audience intrigued and your elevator pitch can fill that need. Pitches can also be used on your website, in brochures and flyers and in solicitation emails.
What the elevator pitch really comes down to, for me, is knowing the event’s high points that will get that gleam in someone’s eye that says they want to know more. It’s also about knowing how to read your audience – knowing when they’re not interested and when they’re reacting. If they aren’t reacting, switch tactics; use the backup pitch for the person whose eyes glaze over at “benefit party”. Above all, it’s getting your enthusiasm and excitement for your event into an organized statement that you can use to start any conversation.
If you have an elevator pitch for your event, please share it in the comments – I’d love to read them!