Fundraising skills: Think On Your Feet

There's no need to be tongue tied in front of a major donor again.

As a fundraiser there are many fundraising skills you need, some of which are more obvious than others. Have you ever been in the situation where a major donor or trustee has asked you a tricky question and you just couldn’t find the words?

It could have been ‘why do you need all this money,’ ‘what will you do with all this money?’ or ‘isn’t it bad financial planning that you are in need of this large amount of money?’ We’ve all been there. If we had the time to go back and formulate a response, we’d be fine. After all, you know all the great things your charity is doing; it’s just hard trying to articulate this in a single response. But they’re standing there and if you don’t come up with the best answer, you know you’ve lost them.

This is where Think On Your Feet techniques would come in handy. These fundraising skills aim to help you speak in any situation with clarity, brevity and impact.

When will Think On Your Feet techniques help?


  • When you have no time to prepare

It will help you when you unexpectedly meet a major donor or VIP and they put you on the spot with that awkward question. Even if it feels like you’re being interrogated, learning to Think On Your Feet will provide you with a structure to deal with the situation, rather than panic. Often, you have the answers in your head but you aren’t able to articulate them- there’s no need for that anymore if you are able to learn these fundraising skills.

  • When you have limited time

This is for the times when you need to prepare a report by the end of the day or you need to prepare a pitch for someone that is due by lunchtime. Although you do have some time to prepare, there is a deadline and this can often stunt you from delivering your best. With the Think On Your Feet techniques, you will be able to organise what you want to say and provide a clear order to present exactly what you want to.

  • Even when you have plenty of time

There are times when you do have time to prepare, such as when you have to write a proposal to a trust/ major donor or deliver a presentation to win a corporate pitch. Although you have time to research and look things up, you have to be able to start from somewhere. Learning to Think On Your Feet will provide you with the structure to hang your thoughts onto, and aims to rid the nerves of public speaking by giving you something else to focus on.

If any of these sound like you, book your place at our Fundraising Fair and learn to Think On Your Feet with Jo O’Sullivan

Jo’s session at Fundraising Fair will also be live streamed. Find out more. 

About Jo O’Sullivan

With over 25 years senior management experience across the commercial, not for profit and NHS sectors, Jo is passionate about developing individuals and organisations to help them to reach their full potential. Jo specialises in fundraising strategy, finance, creative thinking, presentation skills and leadership development.