Crafting an Effective Elevator Pitch


Today’s guest has a mission, and that mission is to teach the people who are doing good how to get noticed by using their words. Erica Mills Barnhart is the CEO of Claxon Marketing and director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the University of Washington, and she joins the podcast today to discuss what people in the social good community need to be saying in order to get noticed in a good way.

Listen in to hear Erica discuss why a social good organization needs an elevator pitch, the biggest mistakes that she sees, and how nouns and verbs need to be used in a mission statement. You’ll also learn how to craft an effective elevator pitch for your organization.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Erica’s background and professional focus
  • What an elevator pitch is and why social good organizations need one
  • The biggest mistakes Erica sees in elevator pitches
  • How deep you get into the mission before you get to the how
  • The size correlation
  • Improving your mission statement
  • How to use nouns and verbs in the mission statement
  • Where the elevator pitch starts
  • Resources for listeners

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Erica Mills Barnhart

Pitchfalls: Why Bad Pitches Happen to Good People

SSIR Article: Great Mission. Bad Statement. Why the social sector should worry more about words.


“Think of it like an invitation. When the door opens, what’s the invitation?”

“There is very much an emotional piece for those in the social good space. We care about what we’re doing. Deeply.”

“There’s always two stories being told even if it’s one or two sentences. What you think the story is, what’s coming out of your mouth, and the story that’s heard and received.”