Giving the Pitch


Pitching the 1% pledge to people is arguably the most exciting and most challenging part of running a OFTW chapter. Every chapter and every volunteer finds their own way. Below and above, you can see various guides and examples produced by chapters and staff. However, the key pointers are:


  • Work out what works for you and then practice, practice, practice
  • It’s a conversation, not a lecture!
  • Make it personal - to you and them
  • Play to your specific audience
  • “We,” not “you”
  • Invite pushback, and (gently) counter
  • If they say no, ask why
  • Set expectations about how long they should delay for ("we usually recommend 3 months after graduation")
  • When in doubt: explain why you yourself pledged

Virtual pitching

In these weird COVID-19-affected times, you'll probably have to make the pitch virtually as well. This can dial up the awkwardness even more - but the key is to treat it exactly like a normal pitch. You can still create a human connection with someone, even over Zoom, and giving through OFTW is still an incredible opportunity. You also get the huge bonus of asking them to screenshare once you've closed the pledge, so you can walk them through setting up their donation. We put together a demo video for virtual pitching below.

Columbia Pitching Guide

Note: this is from 2018 so some info is outdated. Particularly, our top charities have changed. The general sentiment and flow is still an amazing guide, however. 

Vanderbilt Pitching Guide

Get them to the table
  • Use whatever snacks we have - it’s worth the money

  • Warm leads: friends, aquantences, classmates, hallmates, etc. 

Cold shouts:

  • Wanna help solve global poverty?
  • Wanna give to the most effective causes?
  • Want to make the most impact with your donations?
  • We can fix global poverty! 

Explain scope of the problem

  • 15K children under-age of 5 die every day. Over half of those are easily preventable with proven solutions  AND/OR 
  • 734 million people live on less than $1.90 a day

Proven solution

  • That is terrible BUT there are charities that know how to cheaply, scalably, reliably solve these problems

What that has to do with us

  • We’re here to talk about the issue of Global Poverty and encourage people to pledge money to these amazing charities
  • They simply save more lives per dollar than other charities
  • All charity is good, not all charity is equal

Explain EA

  • “Doing the most good with any given donation, act of volunteering, or career”
  • Transition to Effective Giving specifically 
  • In order to do the most good, we should ensure that the charities to which we donate are actually making an impact and, ideally, are the most effective. Since we have limited resources, we should use more rigor and systematicity in our donating habits 

We’re trying to shift the culture of giving away from reactionary one-time donations to random links on facebook–and towards a culture that encourages habitual, sustained giving to the most effective causes

Frame OFTW as an opportunity

  • We work with GiveWell - the best in class charity evaluator and we leverage their research to produce an effective charitable giving portfolio.
  • Charity selection: evidence of effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, room for more funding, transparency
  • Anecdote of problematic charities and/or giving to reinforce our approach
    • e.g. Red Cross built 6 homes with $500 million after the Haiti earthquake
    • Seeing eye dog
      • In the US, it costs $40,000 to train one seeing-eye dog for a blind person 
      • In the developing world, it costs $40 to treat someone for trachoma– a leading cause of blindness.
      • So, for the same amount of money, you could prevent 1,000 people from going blind or give a seeing-eye dog for one blind person in the U.S. 

Elucidate their potential impact

Example: With 1% of the average Vanderbilt income after grad, $556, you could

  • Protect 500 people from malaria for 3-4 years (Against Malaria Foundation)
  • Provide 2,138 people with micronutrient fortification for one year (Project Healthy Children)
  • Provide a year’s worth of safe water to 434 people (Evidence Action)

Compare benefit of 1% to us vs. to recipients

  • Would you take your dream job at 99% of its salary?
  • Realistically, the difference in quality of life between raking in $60k and $59,400 is negligible 

Make the ask

  • Explain Donational
  • Sign up today with your debit card 
  • Explain that you only start donating once working
  • Can change the amount or cancel, will be warned, and can even get a refund

Wanna do this? What do you say? Let’s do this.