Talking About Your Talking Points

“Will you provide me with key talking points I can use when talking with current or potential donors?” How do you answer this question? Are you prepared with updated talking points or do you expect staff, board members, and volunteer solicitors to know what to say without your guidance? Where would they get that information? Would it the same from person to person without your involvement?

We start with a reminder that fundraising is 90% preparation and 10% solicitation. That means preparing talking points is part of the “preparation” – it is not an added task, and certainly shouldn’t be viewed as a burden. Think of this work as core to fundraising, and critical for ensuring that board members, volunteer fundraisers, and new staff have what they need to solicit financial support. But what should those talking points include? Here are our suggestions for how to create a talking points guide that is clear, concise, compelling, and truthful.

Be clear about your goals and priorities. Share how much you need to raise. Be sure to include a paragraph or bullet points that clearly communicate how you will use the funds raised. If this is your annual fundraising, make that clear. If this is a special campaign, share the anticipated the campaign duration. Communicate your priorities, the rationale for these, and the anticipated impact. Make it easy for others to share what will be different as a result of your fundraising. The impact could be economic, social, health, and/or another measure.

Include the basics such as your annual organizational budget; mission, goals, and values; the number of people served; ways to give; and your tax id number. Remember to brag a little. Prepare a list of accomplishments and honors that communicate how your organization is both qualified and recognized for its work. Share funds raised to date, along with the percentage of the goal achieved. Update quarterly and more often, such as when you receive a major gift.

Your talking points should be as simple or as complex as your organization and its fundraising. What’s most important is that people need to be able to make the case for giving to your nonprofit in their own words. They will use your talking points as an input to the story they tell. Each story will reflect what each solicitor feels is most important about your organization from their perspective, and from what they know about the person(s) they are talking to. While every story will be different, the facts at the core of each story need to be the same. You and your storytellers need to be consistent and honest in your message and your talking points are what ground you. Finally, you can share your talking points on your website, via email, in a simple “two-pager,” through a deck, or in a video. Whichever medium you choose, be sure you keep the content up to date. Remember: your talking points can help get people talking and giving!


Copyright 2022 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you plan for 2022! Video and phone conferencing services are always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.

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