Fundraising Presentations: Your Guide to Persuading Investors
March 21, 2021
Your Essential Guide to Fundraising Presentations.
Are you looking forward to challenging questions from investors, long days and multiple meetings?
When you are fundraising, you need to get these meetings right. Of course, you know your business inside out. The real question is: are you certain you can give a compelling and engaging story about it?
The time you spend with potential investors will be most effective if you have a great investor presentation. Follow our survive and thrive guide for pitching investors and you can transform the impact you make. This is pulled from our 12+ years experience preparing management teams for IPOs, fund raising, investor presentations and company sales.
What you have below are ten ideas you can apply immediately so that your next investor presentation leaves you – and your investor – smiling and happy.
Fundraising Guide: Ten tips for better fundraising
Fundraising Presentations Tip #1. Pitch success starts with how you prepare
Too many good fundraising opportunities get lost in boring, run-of-the-mill presentations. A great investor PowerPoint is not enough: in reality investors are looking at you and your team. So, don’t start planning your pitch with PowerPoint – instead start with a lot of thinking and a blank sheet of paper. Ask yourself:
- Who exactly is my potential investor – and what do they want?
- What do I want to achieve – how am I going to sell our investment opportunity?
- How can I hook people – by grabbing their attention early on?
- What is my takeaway message – the one that I want to be remembered for afterwards?
“It’s not supposed to be easy. If it was, then everyone would do it.”
Charles Dunstone, founder of Carphone Warehouse
Fundraising Guide Tip #2. Define and refine your investment story
The way you frame your investment story influences how an investor sees you. Investors need to understand why your opportunity is special, and what makes it stand out from other opportunities.
- What does your team do differently?
- What is your edge’?
- How will you consistently drive better results?
Successful fundraisers craft a compelling story – around their strategy, and they tell it with passion. So, what makes a compelling investment story? According to Forbes, the perfect selling story involves:
- Being relatable – connect with investors by highlighting a scenario relevant to them
- Detailing a conflict – introduce a challenge you’ve overcome to encourage empathy
- Presenting the resolution – to demonstrate your expertise
- Demonstrating results – the human impacts, qualitative results and quantitative outcomes.
Fundraising Presentations Tip #3. Use a clear presentation structure
Investors tell us that the best fundraising presentations are the ones where they are taken on a journey. You can achieve this by reviewing your narrative towards the start of your pitch – this should sound like an executive summary, not an agenda.
A simple structure – with a clear beginning, middle and end – demonstrates your command of your own story. This also helps investors quickly grasp what you do and why it works. Successful fundraisers also limit their narrative to a maximum of three key messages. Highlight the big themes that are going to have the greatest impact so that you get everyone on the same page.
Fundraising Presentations Tip #4. Have a two-way conversation
“The less people know, the more they yell,” says marketing guru Seth Godin. Investors find it frustrating when a fundraising pitch is a one-way broadcast and you don’t give them the opportunity to ask questions. It’s much more effective to have a conversation. Two-way communication allows for instant feedback, clarification and interaction. Successful fundraisers encourage engagement by asking – and welcoming – questions when talking to investors.
For example, questions you could ask investors include:
- Have you seen this before?
- Does that make sense?
- What are your thoughts on what we’ve shown you so far?
Asking questions will also help you to read the room and understand when you need to move the fundraising presentation along. It also pays to be flexible with what you deliver. Every audience is different; use your intuition to spot when you need to spend extra time covering a specific area of your presentation, or when to move along faster.
Fundraising Guide Tip #5. You’re an A team: convey it.
A cohesive, well-prepared team is like a sponge cake straight out of the oven. Ingredients together create something much greater than the sum of the parts. If your team contradicts, interrupts or ignores one another, investors will doubt your credibility. Instead, your interactions should be positive and seamless. Everyone who attends the meeting needs to contribute something relevant – otherwise, why are they there?
Plan beforehand who will answer which type of question and avoid any conflicts.
Fundraising Presentations Tip #6. The non-verbal is important too
Remember that nonverbal communication can be just as important as what is actually being said. Subtle tips for transforming your body language during fundraising presentations:
- Pay attention to what you do when your colleagues are speaking. Look engaged and interested!
- Show that you are as interested in your investor as you want them to be in you.
- Practice – we do extensive rehearsing on camera with clients so that they are investor-ready.
Impressions are everything – investors’ perception of your team when you are with them is what matters. We’ve fixed many pitch disasters with extensive video coaching.
Fundraising Presentations Tip #7. Embrace challenging questions
Investors get frustrated by presenters who avoid, second-guess or provide scrambled answers to questions. Remember, it is their job to ask questions and be critical. We recommend that you prepare yourself for the Q&A session as much as you do for the fundraising presentation itself. Before pitching to investors, look at your presentation objectively: what are the areas you are most likely to be challenged on?
Avoid being defensive or taking criticism personally. Prepare your answers and rehearse delivering them confidently together as a team – the last thing you want is your team being surprised by each other’s answers. Again, do extensive on-camera practice to prepare your team for Q&A.
- Be flexible – use your intuition to flex the level of detail in your response according to your audience.
- Avoid taking criticism personally – focus on building trust, rather than ‘winning’ with your responses.
- Be honest about past failures – show what you learnt and how you have improved as a result.
Fundraising Pitch Tip #8. Manage your energy levels between investor meetings
Delivering a series of fundraising presentations back-to-back can – unsurprisingly – seriously affect your energy levels. However, there are strategies you can employ to perform at your best even if it’s your sixth meeting in one day and you want to catch the last flight home:
- View each fundraising presentation as a standalone event – every meeting is equally important.
- Take a break between meetings – go for a walk outside to get some fresh air.
- Switch team roles – knowing each other’s roles inside out comes in handy here.
- Learn from each presentation – take time to review what went well, what didn’t, and what could be done differently next time.
Fundraising Presentations Tip #9. Practise, edit, practise, refine, practise
Fundraising presentations are the ultimate first impressions test. And like all first impressions, it’s a one-time deal – there are no second chances. So it makes sense to prepare for what you’re walking into by doing your homework.
A 2014 study by Qvidian revealed that teams often lose deals because they haven’t customised their content to their audience’s needs. Successful fundraisers thoroughly research each investor to better understand what’s important to them. This enables you to focus your narrative around what the investor needs, and how you can solve their unique problems.
Once your narrative is in place, it’s time to put in the hours preparing, editing and refining your fundraising presentation. No two presentations will ever be the same; the motivations and personalities of investors will always vary. Let us help you prepare – it’s could be the best investment you ever make.
Fundraising Presentations Tip #10. Check whether you are investor-ready
The more investor-ready you are, the quicker and easier it will be to raise funds. But how do you know when you’re ready?
Our new eBook, Standing Out with Investors, sets out eight questions to answer – it’s specifically about Private Equity Fund or VC Firm fundraising – but is equally relevant to other asset classes. Each question will help you identify whether you need further improvement. The eBook is also full of practical tips, advice and feedback and will help you make immediate improvements to your investor pitches and meetings. Download it for free here.
What else should you do?
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Learn how to stand out with investors
What else should you do?
2. Speak to Us
Investors are more demanding today. Competition has increased; the barriers to convincing investors are higher. You need to do more to stand out. How you present is as important as what you present. If you want the best chance of securing investment from your fundraising presentations, talk to us. Benjamin Ball Associates will help you impress investors.
Contact us today for professional help and advice with your fundraising presentations.
Call +44 20 7018 0922 and ask for Louise Angus to discuss how we can make your fundraising more successful.
What else should you do?
3. Read more good advice
Investor Pitching Advice
How to create a great investor pitch
What makes a powerful private equity pitch book
Pitch book slides – five golden rules
How to pitch to Venture Capital
Examples of bad private equity pitches
Investor elevator pitch competition examples
General Good Pitching Advice
Five minute pitch? – try these tips
How to create an impressive sales pitch
Better body language when pitching
How to be more persuasive when pitching
About Benjamin Ball Associates
Benjamin Ball Associates helps companies to pitch, present & persuade.
Over the last 12+ years the award-winning BBA team has supported thousands of executives globally to present powerfully to investors. We have developed a robust toolbox of techniques that you can use to become clear, confident and compelling.
We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.
Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email email@example.com to find out more and discuss your upcoming fundraising.
Contact us for a chat about how Benjamin Ball Associates can help you.
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