Say it in a tweet: Summing up your organization in 140 characters or less

With all due respect to Mr. Otis, the elevator speech, that time-honored staple of the fundraising world, has lost some of its zip. In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it’s no longer enough to describe and sell your organization’s mission, programs, and prospects in 30-seconds to a minute. Now you need to do it in 140 characters or less. That’s the available “air space” of a Twitter tweet – plus 20 characters reserved for the user address.

These short, pithy pieces of prose make your elevator speech seem so old school, so yesterday, so wordy.  To be sure, tweeting isn’t for everyone, but for folks who like their information in dribs and drabs, Twitter is the way to ride. The painstakingly crafted, carefully timed communiqués of yore will continue to have their place – primarily in face-to-face presentations. However,  I’m fairly certain that even as I write, hundreds of mission statements are being reduced to tweets.


and especially as I’m anything but an expert on the topic. I’ve set up a Twitter account, but that’s as far as I gotten. However, I can see the tweets on the wall, even if I’m not quite sure what they mean for the future of fundraising – and specifically, fundraising as ministry. Fortunately, there are helpful folks standing by to help when we’re ready to leave the nest.

If you’re interested in learning more about Twitter and its place in your fundraising and communication plans, I invite you to check out the following.

  • I highly recommend “5 Twitter Tips for Fundraisers” from the Fundraising Coach, Marc Pittman. He and I met many years ago when Marc  was a fundraiser for The Stony Brook School and it’s been fun to watch him build a thriving consulting business aided by his masterful use of technology.

That’s enough for now and likely more than most Twitter-newbies can absorb in a single setting. If you test your wings by tweeting your mission message, shoot it my way please. I’ll pass it along.


  1. Glad to be included! Twitter sure does teach you how to be succinct. :)8

    • Thanks for checking in, Marc. I am in awe of how you are using technology to assist nonprofits do a better job of raising funds in support of their missions. I enjoy your tweets.

  2. Am I showing my age, or should we consider the elevator pitch an artifact of the Baby Boomer Generation? I will readmit that travel and conferences were one of the highlights of my academic career. I was able to accomplish much work, gather significant amounts of information, and make many useful acquaintances. Elevator pitches were helpful screening devices to longer conversations.

    In my world today of a medically induced retirement, I am travel-challenged. Many of my former colleagues and other academics find themselves travel-challenged because of time and financial restraints. The elevator pitches have been replaced by tweets and the first two lines of a posted message. These short passages are now our road signs and billboards from the 50’s to find the treasures that are out there.

    One article that I found to be an informative and helpful read is Lindasy Kolowich’s hubspot blog on brands, slogan and taglines titled “22 Companies With Really Catchy Slogans & Brand Taglines.” This article was originally posted in August 2012 but recently updated for “freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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