Fundraising Basics: The successful ‘elevator pitch’ for social entrepreneurs

By Nellie Bristol 04 April 2011

Business students pitch their ideas inside an elevator. Photo by: Wakemba / CC BY-SA

You know the scenario – you’re at a conference, networking event or job fair and have just a few moments to “sell” yourself to a donor or employer. For a social entrepreneur, this “elevator pitch” is crucial to securing funding for innovative development business ideas meant to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity around the globe.

“As an entrepreneur, you need to go into the room with a list of people who are going to be in attendance and you need to be really targeted about the conversations you’re going to have,” one industry expert told Devex.

Ideally, you’ll have established a relationship with a funder before you need the money. But if you haven’t, consider your pitch “the beginning of a conversation,” said Olivia Khalili of Cause Capitalism.

Remember: Competitions, grants and other funding opportunities are proliferating, making access to funds easier for a wide range of social enterprises – but also more competitive.

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About the author

Nellie Bristol

Nellie is a Washington-based correspondent whose Devex coverage has focused on international development and global health. She holds a master's in public health/global health and has more than 20 years of writing experience with publications such as The Lancet, Health Affairs and Global Health magazine. She also works with the Aspen Institute's Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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