Do you have an “Elevator Pitch?”

Do you have an “Elevator Pitch?”


If you are involved in non-profit ministry and/or fund-raising for long, you will probably hear the term “elevator pitch.” Are you familiar with it?

From Wikipedia, ”an elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.” (Pincus, Aileen. “The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch”.)

The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of a business card or a scheduled meeting.

It is different than a mission statement or a vision statement. It is also separate from a “case statement,” which would be a more comprehensive document. It is generally 4-5 short sentences, or even phrases that are written out and set to memory, so that when the opportunity arises, and you are put in the position to explain what your organization does, you are ready.

A few thoughts to consider when developing your elevator pitch. It should be:

Simple – Don’t get too wordy and don’t use too many fancy words. Get to the salient points as soon as possible and don’t try to tell the whole story in 30-60 seconds.

Emotional – The listener needs to hear emotion, passion and a strong sense of feeling from you. If you are bored or devoid of passion for the cause, why would s/he want to hear more?

Credible – You don’t need to quote facts or numbers, but if you do, make sure they are accurate and credible. Avoid stating, “we are the ONLY ……” You must sound sincere and believable.

Relevant – The cause you represent is relevant or you wouldn’t be there. In the same way, your “pitch” must be relevant to the day, the culture and the audience.

So, let’s walk through the scenario. At one point in my career, I worked for a ministry named Gospel Communications International. What we did was hard to explain, at least at first blush. I developed an elevator pitch that I used often when I would run into people who found out I served there and then asked, “So, tell me about GCI.”

“Thank you for that opportunity. In 30 seconds:

• At Gospel Communications International, we provide access to the Good News of Jesus Christ to people around the world in the language of their hearts.

• For over 50 years, we have shared God’s Word and other critical information through culturally relevant, evangelistic films, videos, TV broadcasts and internet-driven messages.

• Based in West Michigan, our passion is communicating the Gospel worldwide, using media, to change lives.”


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