“I had to laugh because on the day that I had to give my proposal to the students, I had to follow a dog. Of course the cutest dog in the world who the kids were absolutely in love with…I knew this would be a tough act to follow. It ended up being a great experience and meeting the students was an honor. They were so kind and so curious to know more about us.”
– Eileen Nelson, National Program Director, No Limits Theatre
Face-to-face contact with children is the best way to assure a grant and educate about your cause. Present directly to Penny Harvest student leaders or at a school assembly. Presentations should be short and make your work come to life. Visual materials, like short videos or appropriate photographs, as well as the power of storytelling, can make a huge difference.
To appeal to your young audience, we suggest you structure your talking points in the following order:
Download a Talking Points Guide Sheet with these four points so you can outline your presentation.
Consider the special qualities that everyone in your organization can offer schools.
Constituents: Of course, the most powerful stories about your organization come from the people who benefit from your services. For children, these first-hand accounts make your work much more tangible. For example:
The Doe Fund sends the formerly homeless men in their “Ready, Willing, Able” program to schools. Third grader Ronit Morris described the impact of the presentation:
“They were able to not only tell us what they thought it was like, but what it was actually like.”
Also, consider the effect of this experience on your constituents. One Doe Fund presenter reflected:
“I did so much harm. I took. I stole. Now this gives me an opportunity to teach. To help. To keep someone else from making my mistakes.”
“On-the-Ground” Staff: While Development and Marketing Departments are used to conveying the organization’s mission to the larger public, hands on staff members can convey what a typical day actually looks like and provide knowledge on an issue. For example, a doctor can educate students about health, a social worker can educate about elder needs, and a gardener can educate about the environment.
Volunteers: Penny Harvest presentations are an excellent way to engage volunteers more deeply in your organization and capitalize on their unique time and talents. Also, serving as a role model for a group of elementary school students will be a powerful experience for your volunteers. For example:
Make-A-Wish of Greater New York sends Sami, a retired New Yorker who loves children, into schools. Sami uses this as more than an opportunity to educate about Make-A-Wish:
“I am sure to tell students that I am a volunteer, what it means to volunteer, and why they should volunteer.”
Because every Penny Harvest school is different, you should gather information about your audience before the presentation. Ask the following questions: