Paint a long-lasting picture

After successfully delivering an elevator pitch, it is important to paint a picture to help the listener visualize what you are selling. If you have time, provide a business related story or a relevant analogy. Either way, the story should stand out in someone’s mind after your conversation.

A great example of a nonprofit’s indirect elevator pitch for donors and volunteers

A City Year founding story:  “The Starfish Story”
(Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley)

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

Five reasons why this is a good example of a powerful story

  1. It inspires. City Year uses this story to show that when up against great odds, the idealism that the organization is founded on can be a powerful motivator. It just takes one person (even a young kid) to act positively to change lives for the better, while at the same time inspiring others to also do great things!
  2. It hits a cord. The story makes a connection with its donors, providing a warm-fuzzy feeling that touches those that read or hear it.
  3. It is relevant. The story is related to other real-life conflicts (e.g. social justice, student dropout rates, etc.) that City Year addresses each year.
  4. It helps with recall. The story is a tool for others to remember what City Year does and it also helps the same individuals discuss what City Year is all about to their own network of contacts.
  5. It lives on. City Year has found the story so powerful, that it even leverages it in marketing communications. Plus, years later, many of the donors and volunteers continue to talk about the starfish story.

Is your business telling a story to your clients and prospects? Let Byrnes Consulting know if you need help becoming more successful!

More about City Year
City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. As tutors, mentors and role models, these diverse young leaders help children stay in school and on track, and transform schools and communities across the United States, as well as through international affiliates in Johannesburg , South Africa and London , England.

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