Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fundraising: Part 5 - Giving a Fundraising Speech

Know your audience. It's important to cater to the group you are speaking to. You need to tailor your speech based on your audience. Are they students, church members, business people? Also, keep in mind what you have in common with your audience. If people feel like they can relate to you, they are more likely to listen to you and keep their attention on you. Even if you think that you have nothing in common, dig deep and find something. It'll pay off (both literally and figuratively).

Tell stories. Pick a story from your experience. Make it heartfelt. Relate it to yourself and your audience. Make them feel compassionate toward your cause, because then they'll be more likely to help you out when you start asking for money.

Don't just talk in statistical terms. No one remembers the exact percentages and numbers. People remember stories. They remember compelling, heartwarming, and sometimes even bittersweet experiences that someone tells them about. Statistics don't put things into perspective for most people. It's better to talk about one person that you met and do know versus the million people you don't know talked about in a statistic.

If you can, use props to tell your story or relay your message. It could be a can of coins, an ice cube in a glass of orange juice, or a ruler. Tell them how every penny counts, how this is just the tip of the ice burg, or how every donation helps inch by inch. No matter how you use your prop, it not only helps your audience remember your story better, but helps you remember how to tell your story, as well.

Be careful with PowerPoints. If you do use a PowerPoint, don't read word for word from it. In fact, don't make your PowerPoint wordy at all. Instead, have photos, because these are more effective than words. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, avoid the PowerPoint unless it's completely necessary.

Practice makes perfect. Seriously. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Practice helps everyone, even the most talented of speakers. We all know that public speaking can be scary, so start practicing in advance and get comfortable speaking in front of friends and family if you need to. If you need to, write an outline to keep yourself on track. Speak slowly and deliberately so that people can hear and understand you.

Make it CLEAR how people can help. If you get up and give your speech, but never mention HOW they can help your cause, you're cause is hopeless. Give at least two or three concrete ways people can help, either by donating on the spot, signing up for emails, coming out for a walk, or some other event.

MEMORIZE your conclusion! This is important! You really want to drive home your last point, and you want it to be big, inspiring, and exciting. You want people to walk away WANTING to help you and donate to your cause, so having a killer ending, memorizing it and delivering it like a pro will work to your advantage.

Speak from your heart. Show your audience that you care about your cause. If they can tell you're not "in it" then they won't feel compassion for your cause, because you don't show compassion for your cause. Be honest, be sincere, be passionate. People connect to these traits.

Don't worry about the things you forget once you're done and you're walking away. What's said is said, and that's they best you can do, so don't beat yourself up over it. Instead, write the things you forgot down so that you can include them in your next speech. However, move on. No matter how many speeches you give, there will ALWAYS be something you feel like you left out, so get over it and be happy with how well you did instead.

Additionally, here are some books to read if you're really interested in public speaking:

Say It Like Obama: The Power of Speaking With Purpose and Vision by Shel Leanne
Quick and Easy Way to Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

Do you have any home run tips for public speaking? Share your thoughts and ideas in a comment!

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