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By Jaidyn Crookston | November 09, 2021 | 8 Minute Read

8 Tips for Nailing Your Presentation to a Bank or Credit Union Board

Woman presents to a bank board of directors
If you’re a CRA officer or community impact specialist, you’ll likely find yourself presenting to a bank or credit union board at some point to build support—and it’s rarely a comfortable experience.
Board presentations are a lopsided affair, with anywhere from three to 30 people sitting in front of you. If it feels like all eyes are on you, well, you’d be right.
Here are some tips for nailing your presentation to the board of directors of your bank or credit union.

Formalize the Plan

Whether you’re asking the board for funding or just seeking support, it’s important that you come to the meeting prepared. You’ll want to have a formalized plan that clearly outlines everything the board members need to know. 
You should come prepared with:

  • Your pitch deck, including a brief overview of your proposal
  • Metrics outlining the problem you’re addressing
  • Your definition of success and how your team is tracking it
  • A financial plan including detailed, estimated expenses
  • Marketing or outreach initiatives, including realistic timelines
  • A list of community partners
  • A list of funding partners

Your board wants to see a written plan that is realistic, well-thought-out, and has a strong foundation on which your vision can grow. If you’re able to show board members that your initiative benefits both the bank or credit union and the community, you’re more likely to receive support or funding. 

Nail the Elevator Pitch

Any time you ask someone for support, you should be able to summarize your initiative in a clear and concise statement. 
This is known as an “elevator pitch.” You should be able to clearly tell someone about your initiative in the time it takes an elevator to go up a few flights. Imagine the president of your financial institution steps on the elevator next to you and asks casually what you’re presenting. The goal is to be so comfortable with your plan that when the doors reopen, the president wants to know more. 
Even though you’ll have more time to present to the entire board of directors, it’s a good idea to practice your elevator pitch as a way to get comfortable with your message. 

Dress for Success

Of course, no one is going to dress like a slob while presenting to a bank or credit union board, but it’s a good idea to go a step further. Presume the board members will be wearing professional clothes. Follow their lead.
Even if your presentation is for a community garden or creating a children’s playgroup staffed by volunteers from your institution—ideas that require informal attire—present yourself as the professional you are. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed and out of place.
Check out this article for some ideas on how to dress for success. 


Do Your Research

Board members are likely to ask questions during or after your presentation. You don’t want to be caught off-guard by anything they ask. You can limit the number of surprises by doing as much research in advance as possible. You should know details like:
  • What are the names, titles, and affiliations of all the people on the board?
  • What types of partnership and support are you seeking from the bank or credit union?
  • What about your initiative may concern board members?
  • How have they supported similar community initiatives in the past?
  • How has the COVID pandemic impacted your initiative (either negatively or positively)?
By showing board members you’ve done your research, they’re more likely to trust your judgment and see your initiative in a positive light. (For some more ideas on how to build trust, check out this article.)

Highlight Your Team

Your presentation shouldn’t be all about you. And it shouldn’t be all about the problem you're trying to solve either. Draw attention to the awesome things your team has already done and their plans for the future. Showing that you’ve already built a team and gained their support will help the bank or credit union board members see your initiative as a viable and profitable option. 
Highlighting your team may mean providing the names, titles, and affiliations of everyone involved with your initiative. Or it may mean putting pictures of volunteers and team members on the screen. Show the impact your team has had on social media, with nonprofits, and with community partners. 
If your initiative has already attracted hundreds of volunteers or thousands of likes and shares on social media, share this with the board and draw attention to those who have participated. If your initiative is in the beginning stages and hasn’t yet attracted much support, that’s okay! Show how your initiative will benefit community members, bank or credit union employees, and board members. It’s all about how you present the future impact of your idea. 

Show the Data

All the people in the world won’t help you achieve success and get the support you need if you don’t have any data. Even if this is a brand new initiative and you’ve collected no personal data, you can still show how the community has been impacted by the problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re lucky enough to have some data, feel free to make some graphs and charts to visually present this data to the bank or credit union board. 
Some data you may be able to show includes donations, grants, volunteer hours, events held, and more. Data that shows any previous support you’ve received will help board members trust your judgment and will help them be more inclined to support you themselves. 
If you need help tracking and managing community impact data, schedule a personalized demo with Kadince. Kadince makes it easy to track, manage, and report all your community impact data. It’s even easy to create widgets, graphs, and reports that you can present to the bank or credit union board. 

Learn from the Experience

Be emotionally prepared for the reality that you may have to give many presentations before you find success. That's why it's a good idea to start early. Don’t wait until your initiative reaches the make-or-break point before you seek support from powerful members of the community.
After each presentation, reflect on what went well and what didn’t. If you’re not successful, ask for constructive feedback on how you can improve your chances in the future. This can help you learn from the experience and do better next time. 

Bottom Line: Be Prepared

Board presentations are sweat-inducing and scary, but you can be calm and collected if you arrive prepared. Print handouts for each board member that clearly define your community initiative and cover the most important points. Handouts are a good way to help board members remember what you’ve said, and they also serve as a backup in case the computer or screen you’re using malfunctions. 
The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to stumble over your words or make a bad impression. When you show board members that you are prepared and ready to answer their questions, they’re more likely to take you seriously and give you the support your community initiative needs. 
Even though you should be professional and prepared, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself. You’re seeking support for an initiative that’s close to your heart and that you’ve worked hard to build. You deserve to relax and enjoy the journey. 
Good luck! 

None of Kadince, Inc., its affiliates, or its respective employees, directors, officers, and agents (collectively, “Kadince”) are responsible or liable for any content or information incorporated herein. Read full disclosure.

Jaidyn Crookston | Content Manager, Kadince

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