Charity Presentations 2

Welcome back. Part one is here. 😉

So now we know the problems faced by charities in their presentations, what’s the solution?

To be honest and brutal, they’re not very different from the ones faced by any business.

For reports which are basically reports, the rules are pretty much exactly the same (in principle).  The same is true of presentations which are very much designed to deal with emergencies. For both of those there’s a huge amount of great content both here and elsewhere on the web. (Be careful though, there’s also some utter tosh out there! 😉 )    Donation/pitch presentations also have their analogies in the business presentation/pitch.  Ditto the availability of advice. Note that I’m not saying the presentations should be the same in the charity sector as in other sectors, just that you should apply the same principles: the same principles in different situations can lead to very different-looking presentations!

But that leaves just one are where what charities are doing is so different to the business equivalent it’s worth looking at – it’s presentations that educate. It’s not that business presentations don’t need to do explain-presentations (most presentations need to include a bit of this in order to work!), it’s just that this is in many ways the whole raison d’etre for charity presentations. Fortunately there’s quite a lot of research done to help. A couple of them have been explained by smallSimon in his videos…

smallSimon talks about when you should use statistics and when you should use stories in your presentations – this research literally used charity donations as part of the research!:


more from smallSimon, this video looking at what you say first in your presentation can have an astonishing impact on the rest of your presentation – getting this right can have an disproportionately powerful result:

Combine those two sets of tools and your explainer presentations should be a lot more powerful. Come to think of it, your charity-funding/donation presentations should benefit hugely too!

Let’s go a bit deeper into our education presentations

My experience of working with charities – and of having been a charity worker – is that you/we get excited. It’s important. It matters.   Of course it does!  If it didn’t matter to us we’d not be associated with that charity. Almost by definition it matters! What that leads to in too many presentations, unfortunately, is that presentations include everything and the kitchen sink. Overloading audiences just means they take in less and less until they can’t respond to anything, no matter how important. We have a depressingly small capacity to absorb new information quickly. (That’s a valid problem for business presentations too, but charity presentations are more vulnerable… because hey! It matters!)

Standard advice at this point is to go back over your presentation and remove anything that’s not absolutely necessary. Frankly you need to go further than that here, because that still has a default mindset of “in the presentation unless there’s a reason to exclude it”. What’s better is an ‘out’ mindset, where you assume any given slide, sentence, fact, image, whatever is out unless it can absolutely and positively justify being included. Don’t try and justify to yourself why you’re taking something out – start with the assumption it’s going/gone and pretend there are only a limited number of people allowed back into the life-raft. Too many people taken from the sea into the life-raft will sink the raft and so everyone drowns.  (Morbid analogy, sorry!)

Here’s a simple technique – so simple you won’t want to use it.

  • Decide exactly and explicitly the very minimum you need your audience to have understood by the end of your presentation
  • For everything you want to include, ask yourself  if it matches two criteria:
    • does it make that outcome significantly more likely?
    • could you get to the same outcome without that content?

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