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On Valentine’s Day, a group of fundraisers, development directors, and movers-and-shakers from local organizations gathered at our LA HQ for an intimate lunch and group exercise designed to help hone fundraising pitches, strengthen donor relationships, and build a sustainable base of support for nonprofits.

Leader in Residence Mpumi Nobiva kicked things off with a mini-master class in storytelling, sharing her moving personal narrative along with a strategic pitch for Share Your Story Africa Initiative—her nonprofit dedicated to advocacy for young women affected by HIV/AIDS and domestic violence in South Africa. Revisiting Simon Sinek’s idea of the Golden Circle, she broke down what made her pitch effective and how to repeat its structure—by starting with “why” you’re fundraising, then addressing the “how” and “what” that your donors should understand about your organization.

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Those of us in the audience jotted down quick pitches based on Sinek’s philosophy, then broke into pairs to present them and give feedback to our partners about what worked best, whether or not we’d donate based on the pitch given, and what might make us more likely to give. With a variety of sectors and levels of experience represented around the room, each attendee had something unique to bring to the table.

Claire Wright, Assistant Media Summit Coordinator at the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), was brave enough to share her persuasive and personal pitch with the group—it turned out to be her first time, though we’d never know it. “I had actually never pitched for NALIP until that event, so it was really good practice and a great exercise, she says. “I’ll definitely be taking all of that rehearsal with me moving forward. Though I’m not on the development side of [NALIP], I’m on the event planning side, so I still have to do the pitch, walk the walk, and make those connections."

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Product Manager Jason Meer took the floor to reveal some exciting upcoming product updates that will help fundraisers make the most of the relationships they build with donors—including features that will make the donation process easier, more automated, and more personalized. There’s more to come on those new features, but in the meantime, here’s what stuck with two of our teammates in attendance.

I was surprised by how small tweaks to an organization's digital strategy can dramatically increase conversion rates—for instance, adding a compelling, full-width background image can increase donation page conversion rates by up to 36%. Along with the reminder to start with the “why” in fundraising pitches, it's something I'm definitely going to look at when I work with my customers on fundraising.

-Marco Suarez, Enterprise Account Manager at NationBuilder

To build a sustainable fundraising campaign, it needs to be easy, automatic, and personalized. We learned that in 2016, 16% of all nonprofit donations raised online were generated from recurring donations, with no additional required effort. It’s simple and very compelling.

-Chelsey Smith, Enterprise Account Manager at NationBuilder

NationBuilder LA was created to engage, equip, and support leaders from various sectors with in-person programming. Join us for our next event to meet and have great conversations with other LA leaders.

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