Online, tight programming feels natural and professional in a way that might feel stiff and overly scripted in a live setting. Especially without the cheese, wine, and party chat, streamlined facilitation is a gift to attendees. Rehearsing multiple times will help.
Pre-welcome — 5 minutes before start through 3 minutes after start
Most guests will show up from 5-minutes early to 5-minutes late. That means the host needs to hold court by warmly welcoming people as they arrive. Friendly, energetic banter will set the tone well.
Pro tip: Rename guests to display their name/location.
Welcome, including Zoom tips — 2 minutes
Welcome all guests, graciously thank the hosts, and introduce your team. Next, briefly introduce the basics features of Zoom (mute/unmute, “raise hand,” chat window), enter questions in the chat throughout.
Introductions (optional) — 3-10 minutes
Your name, your location, and why you care about social justice and the upcoming elections. Emphasize brevity—say “no more than 30 seconds,” but know some go 60.
The presenter’s MVP love story — 2-3 minutes
Why do we tell love stories? Because we want our audience to feel love. This is your first opportunity to establish or deepen your guests’ emotional connection to MVP. You should craft your story to be accessible and relatable. Guests want to know and love you, but we need your story to be a vehicle for their own MVP love story!
Presentation — 15 minutes
Keeping our presentation tight is crucial as attention spans are even shorter online. “Why/How/What” logic helps the audience focus and make sense of why MVP exists, how we do what we do, and what that actually looks like.
Here is a suggested flow that you can adapt to make your own:
- Big why — A broad mission statement to frame the presentation
- Modeled why — A grantee story that shows why supporting grassroots groups is ideal. Choose your grantee based on the interests of your guests.
- The program’s how — Explain how MVP grants money while also offering support including organizing mentorship/advice, data, tools, and connections.
- The donor’s how — Explain how MVP is the perfect vehicle for donors, including 100% of donations going to grantees, multiple funds to target donations with, MVP’s expert plans and donor advisors, and 501(c)3/501(c)4 options.
- The what — Put it all together with a full donor journey. Start with, “So, what happens when you give to MVP?” Then, follow the path for a given fund from the state advisors to the group receiving the grant/support through to the group’s electoral and social justice impact. If it makes sense audience-wise and time-wise, you can do this for two different funds (e.g. Pandemic and Big 5).
- See some examples of different “whats”.
Questions & answers — up to 10 minutes (chat box open throughout)
Start by saying something like “my goal so far has been to explain why MVP’s model is impactful and successful, how it benefits our grantees and our donors, and what our work looks like in action. If you have any questions about our work, please ask now! Once we’re done with this round of Q&A, we’ll talk about how you can participate.” Change up this language if that’s helpful, but please maintain the implied messages:
- MVP is impactful, successful organization that you should want to be a part of
- You now know our mission, how we achieve it, and what that looks like in action
- We’re capable professionals worthy of your philanthropy
- The next step is your participation so start thinking about your giving!
If somebody naturally jumps in with a question, great! The more likely scenario is that they don’t so it’s crucial that you have a “plant” or two with a question standing by. They should jump in after 5-10 seconds of silence. Ideally, your planted question will build momentum towards giving. Questions about donation mechanics are great—I’m not sure which fund to donate to, how do I decide? Who do I address my check to? Can I donate online? These are all great questions that segue nicely into the next topic.
Instead of “the ask,” consider this the offering & the giving — 10 minutes
“Asking” hopes the powerful participate; “offering” empowers others to participate in your power.
Presenting this moment as, “Who’s ready to stand together and change the world?!” is more effective than “We need help—can you help?” If you make prospective donors feel invited into the MVP community—a powerful, welcoming community of competent professionals that maximize the impact of political donations—they will feel great and give generously.
Once you’ve established your offering, have your “testimonial plant” talk about why they resonate with the values of MVP and explain why they are giving. This will build the moment to just shy of the peak of positivity. Then, use the polling function of Zoom to request whether people would like to donate, have a donor advising session, or volunteer AND what their pledge amount is if they’d like to make a pledge.
As they consider their giving, have your “donor plant” announce their sizable gift. Once they’re done, thank them and lift up the impact of their giving. We want the other guests to experience the good feelings and to jump in. Announce the total and invite guests to announce their donation total if they’d like to. Please be clear that you will follow up regarding advising sessions and volunteering. You can now thank the hosts and invite guests to stick around for some informal chat if they so desire.