Investor Presentation: A Key Communication Medium in Fundraising

July 12, 2023     |     Darien Group

Investor presentations are perhaps the most frequently used tools in a fundraiser’s toolkit. This tradition has been around for decades, tracing its origins back to the investment banking world. But what worked in the beginning doesn’t necessarily serve modern best practices.

Challenges with Traditional Investor Presentations

The hallmarks of investment bank-style presentations are still visible today, particularly in the format and visual presentation. Typically, these presentations are composed of 25 to 50 slides, often created in Microsoft PowerPoint, intended to guide a 45 to 60-minute pitch meeting with an investor.

However, a common refrain we often hear from our clients is, “We never actually use the book from start to finish. I just do my spiel, and we flip around and use certain slides to back up the points we’re making.

This raises an intriguing challenge: the communication medium is not being used in the way it’s implicitly intended. Often, these presentations serve as a ‘leave-behind’ following a meeting with a Limited Partner (LP). 

The LP representative then socializes the fund offering within their organization, passing the presentation up the hierarchy to a senior decision-maker or to an analyst to scrutinize the numbers and log data for deeper analysis.

How to Optimize Investor Presentations

Given this nebulous and multi-purpose nature of the investor presentations, how do we optimize them?

While the mission might be imperfect and multi-faceted, we strive to do our best by considering all potential audiences and use cases. We consult extensively with our clients beforehand, acknowledging that many presentations can benefit from several consistent practices.

Regardless of the firm type they’re being used for, investor presentations should possess a high level of visual and verbal polish, equivalent to communication materials like a website, an AGM presentation, an ESG report, or any other medium bearing the firm’s name. 

Although it might be a more challenging medium, the investor presentation deserves equal focus and attention. In an industry where the typical allocator will see around 150-300 presentations per year, it must be memorable.

In our upcoming blog series, we’ll dive deeper into best practices, formatting questions (particularly for Microsoft PowerPoint), ideal content sequencing, and design production, among other tactical topics. Our goal? To ensure these presentations read cleanly, clearly, and directly, whether they’re being used alongside an in-person presentation, a Zoom presentation, or when being read independently by an investor without a sponsor’s representative present. Stay tuned as we unravel the complexities of investor presentations, one slide at a time.

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