Author: Kate Sunners


We’ve attended some great events lately that have had some fantastic fundraising insights and hot tips on how to tell a punchy story in under 10 minutes! Here’s the low down down low…

Concise, from the heart and jam-packed with meaty information. That’s how I’d describe both The Funding Network’s Brisbane presentations from three nonprofits, and the 10 ten-minute presentations by nonprofit professionals at FIA Queensland’s Superbolt afternoon.

The Funding Network’s Brisbane presenters were Share the Dignity, Health Justice Partnerships and Mimi’s House. In five minutes, these presenters had to pitch their case for funding support from the audience – many of whom were unfamiliar with the organisation and their work. Each pitch had a different structure, with each element suited to showcasing the organisation’s beneficiaries and work. Not unlike a grant application or Case for Support document. Some of the pitch structures looked like this:


– Case study of beneficiary and how they were helped

– The problem

– The solution

– The ask

– Evidence of the need

– Evidence that the solution works


 – Introduction to why the organisation was set up

– Demonstrating strong community support for the organisation’s work

– Stories about the beneficiaries

– Vision for the future

– The outcomes of the project if funded

– The impact per $

There are some more tips from TFN on crafting an excellent pitch here: https://thirdsector.com.au/5-steps-to-be-pitch-perfect/


At the FIA QLD Superbolt afternoon, we had ten expert presenters with 20 slides each speaking about their topics for 10 minutes.

One of my favourite quotes came from Wendy Scaife, Director of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy Nonprofit Studies, “The greatest courtesy you can pay to people who give is to research and understand them.”

This message was strongly brought home by the major gifts presentation by Matt Lang, Fundraising Manager at the Broncos, about his father – a Salvation Army Commissioner. His understanding of, and generosity to, a farmer in his time of need turned into a long-term relationship with, and many large donations to, the Salvation Army.

‘It’s all about relationships’ was a theme that was reiterated again and again in presentations on Direct Mail, Bequests, Events, Grants and Major Gifts. Karen Shields from Cancer Council Queensland urged us to understand donors’ stories and motivations for giving, and ensure direct mail is customised for long-term donors and reflects their involvement with the organisation (attendance at events etc). Sonia Tufnell, Fundraising Director at The Heart Foundation pointed out that one of the most relevant KPIs for bequest managers is the number of contacts they have with every bequester. Even fundraising events are all about relationships  according to Christine Anderson of Ride to Conquer Cancer who stressed that repeat participants must be recognised for their support and given the tools and support to encouragesuperbolt other participants to get involved.

The second major message of the day was to tell a strong story. Our National Manager Harriett Carter presented on the fictional ‘Society for the Protection of Snortlepigs’ and how the organisation struggled with success in grants because they didn’t understand how to tell the story of need for their programs or talk about their outcomes. And Juanita Wheeler of Full and Frank wrapped it up with a fantastic list of the golden rules of storytelling. My personal favourite being to ask yourself: does this story deserve to be told?

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