“TEDTalks, ideas worth spreading” was launched in 1984 focused around the convergence of technology, entertainment and design. Nearly three decades since its inception, rabbis and educators the world over find that TEDTalks serve as great points of education and inspiration.

In fact, we have blogged here about where you can find a handy spreadsheet with nearly 900 TEDTalks organized by topic and also here about how the people behind TEDTalks have started a new site Ted Quotes, which can certainly help any speaker enhance their lecture.

That said, TEDTalks is not something that one would think of as a vehicle to improve one’s fundraising tactics. However, the folks at Veritus Group recently highlighted that TEDTalks can actually help your fundraising tactics and improve the quality of your meetings with your donors.

We’ve sifted through all of their suggestions and present you with six of the most applicable methods that are particularly relevant to a Jewish nonprofit organization.

Timing is Everything

Speakers at TEDTalks are not allowed to speak for hours on end. The presentation must be short and to the point. On the other hand, rabbis and educators are more accustomed to giving a sermon that can go on for quite some time.

When it comes to making a presentation for a large donation from a wealthy entrepreneur who is always pressed for time, you must remember that shorter talks are not lesser talks. Keep in mind that it can only take six or eight minutes to make your point unforgettable. From the onset, set a time limit for yourself. Sticking to a short amount of time will force you to highlight the important points you want to communicate to your potential donor.

Create an Outline

Once you have allotted for yourself a certain amount of minutes that you will speak for, create an outline of what you’d like to cover in your presentation with the donor. Be concise. Write in a way that feels natural. Use present tense and interesting verbs.


As noted above, TEDTalks discourages long talks, podiums or readings. Stay away from notes. Think about it. If you are sitting with your donor and explaining things by always being able to look at the donor versus glancing at your computer or notepad, your presentation will be more compelling.

Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t walk into a room with a donor without practicing. Make sure that you rehearse your presentation and practice it with a friend or colleague who will offer you feedback. This will allow you to streamline your words and remove any unnecessary story or point.

A Relevant Story or Example

If your donor will appreciate a story about the Chofetz Chaim…use it. However, if you are speaking to someone who will appreciate hearing about your childhood days of going to a baseball game and meeting Sandy Koufax…use that story.

As is true with TEDTalks, make sure that you draw people (or in this case the donor) into caring. The easiest way to do so is to draw your donor in with something they care about. If you are trying to tell them about a new initiative or something that they would never think about, start off by invoking something they do think about a lot and relate that concept to your idea.

It goes without saying that if you know the donor’s passion and interest, then you will know what he cares about. And if you have that information, implementing this point will be easy. It’s well worth your time to try and find out all you can about the donor before you walk in and make your formal presentation.

A Different Kind of Practice

Be prepared for your donor to have doubts and questions about what you are saying. Practicing also includes being prepared to respectfully address any questions or controverisal points that the donor may throw at you after you have made your presentation.

Practice what you would say as a counter-argument and come up with ways to calmly address these questions. In fact, how you respond will go a long way towards ensuring this potential donor that they should invest in your organization.


We hope you appreciate this roundup. Feel free to print this out as these tips will be good for you and appreciated by any donor.

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