by Sharon Danosky
Is your leadership ready to answer the tough (or even easy) questions about your organization by donors and the community at large and will they be able to take that opportunity to position the organization in the best possible light?
Or — do they keep asking for the “Elevator Speech.”
Personally, I have grown to dislike the whole premise of the “Elevator Speech.” The theory goes that you get on the elevator and (if someone asks) you have 10 floors in which to share the story of what your organization does. Therefore, it is important to have the talking points – which are written down – that Board members should be able to memorize or refer to in order to answer the question. In reality, I find that when a Board member asks for the “Elevator Speech” what they really want is a way to better understand and be able to communicate the salient and compelling facts about the non-profit they are serving. And if they have to ask …. Then we need to do a better job of communicating.
I think a better way is to develop key messages and then help Board members personally relate to 1 or 2 of those key messages. Then, the salient and compelling facts about that non-profit are embedded into the individual’s soul and the conversation becomes easy, relevant and even enjoyable.
Peter Roche and I believe this so strongly, that we have developed a methodology that helps both management and volunteers distill their messages from a lay person’s perspective and learn how to bring their personal understanding of the organization to the forefront. Board members become comfortable, donors hear interesting information and perspectives and conversations emerge that are interesting and meaningful.