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FAQS
 
What is the Social Innovation Fast Pitch?
What is a "Fast Pitch"?
Why is the Social Innovation Fast Pitch unique and important?
What will happen at the Social Innovation Fast Pitch event?
Who should attend The Social Innovation Fast Pitch event?
How does the program work?
What are the criteria for nonprofits that wish to participate?
How do I apply?
What kind of training do the participants receive?
How can I get involved?
Who organizes the Social Innovation Fast Pitch?
 
What is the Social Innovation Fast Pitch?

In an effort to support social entrepreneurs tackling some of this city’s toughest problems, and to contribute to the innovative, vibrant culture in the Los Angeles area, Los Angeles Social Venture Partners (LASVP) has developed the annual “Social Innovation Fast Pitch” into a signature program.

The Social Innovation Fast Pitch is a two-month training and mentoring program for innovative nonprofits that are effecting social change in Greater Los Angeles, culminating in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch event.

The goal of the Social Innovation Fast Pitch program is to build the capacity of, and create visibility for, innovative local nonprofits and the social entrepreneurs who lead them. Leaders from 20 organizations participate in the program each year, where they receive training, feedback and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully “tell their story.” Through the process, they will also build valuable cross-sector relationships.

What is a "Fast Pitch"?
A “Fast Pitch” is a high-energy, fast-moving, quick-fire presentation, where entrepreneurs share the mission, vision, promise, and model of their organization – all in under three minutes! Presenters must be succinct, compelling, polished and passionate. Fast Pitch competitions have proven popular in the for-profit / start-up sector, and the idea has been adapted for this event. Cash grants will be awarded at the event to the best presenters.
Why is the Social Innovation Fast Pitch unique and important?

Since the economic downturn created even greater financial pressures in the nonprofit sector, innovative nonprofit organizations have been using limited resources in creative and effective ways to deliver breakthrough social impact.

Additionally, while all nonprofit organizations seek financial support, most could also use non-financial resources such as idle capacity; donated goods; board members; strategic advice; executive coaching; legal, accounting, marketing, or logistics assistance to build their skills and capacity. Conversely, many in the business community would like to give more of their time and expertise, but don’t have a good outlet or haven’t been asked. Once engaged, they often become financial supporters as well.

The Social Innovation Fast Pitch bridges this gap not only by highlighting social innovations, but also by connecting and actively engaging members of the business community with nonprofits in a highly effective, programmatic manner. Members of the business community serve as coaches over a two-month period. Other business leaders, venture capitalists, and social investors are among the judges and audience members at the event. And nonprofits learn to tell their story and to engage the support of a diverse array of community members.

What will happen at the Social Innovation Fast Pitch event?

The event will include inspiring three-minute pitches from the 10 finalists, as well as distinguished guest speakers and the opportunity to network with cross-sector leaders committed to improving the Los Angeles community.  Grants will be awarded the night of the event, including a prize that is determined based on audience text voting. (To see video clips from the 2011 Fast Pitch event, click here.)

Who should attend The Social Innovation Fast Pitch event?

Anyone interested in learning about and supporting innovation in the social sector in Los Angeles. This year's event will bring together people from the business, government, academic and nonprofit worlds who want to support a vibrant ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in Los Angeles.

Through the program, we aim to expand the network of individuals and organizations that value innovation, accountability and operational stability in top-performing nonprofits. Anyone who seeks to contribute their skills, expertise, finances and connections in ways that contribute to building stronger organizations is encouraged to attend.

How does the program work?
  • All applications must be submitted online through the website.
  • The application deadline is Monday, July 16. 
  • The Selection Committee will review all submissions, and, based on the submissions and possible fact checking or other follow-up, will invite approximately 20 semi-finalists to participate. 
  • The semi-finalists will attend a presentation workshop and have approximately one week to prepare for the first coaching session. 
  • The semi-finalists will participate in three group coaching session and receive one-on-one mentoring. This process will help them to distill the key elements of their mission, approach, impact, and needs into a three-minute presentation. They will have access to valuable strategic advice and resources, and will have the opportunity to cultivate ongoing relationships.
  • Participants must attend one of the first two group coaching sessions. Although attendance at both sessions is not required, it is highly recommended that participants attend all sessions.  
  • The Selection Committee will select up to 10 finalists to present at the event and compete for cash grants.
  • The finalists will have one additional coaching session before the event.

In 2011, 103 nonprofits submitted applications that met the eligibility criteria, 20 were selected for the program as semi-finalists, and 10 were selected as finalists to present at the event. We expect the number of applications will increase each year, and the number of finalists to remain fairly constant.

What are the criteria for nonprofits that wish to participate?
  • Potential for tangible societal impact – Does this idea address an important social issue? Is it already making or likely to make a significant impact?
  • Innovation – Is this approach or idea novel and unique? How is the innovation creating more dramatic results than other, similar groups?
  • Location – Organizations may be located outside of Los Angeles but must have significant operations in L.A. County. Preference will be given to organizations that are headquartered here.
  • Presenter – Individuals presenting on behalf of their organization must hold the title of Executive Director, CEO, Founder, Chief Development Officer or equivalent and must have at least six (6) months of tenure with the organization.
How do I apply?

The application period for the 2012 program is now closed.  The program will begin accepting applications again in the summer of 2013.  The application process follows these steps:

  1. Read the application thoroughly and familiarize yourself with the questions and the other information requested.
  2. Create a Word or pdf document with the requested information, including your responses to the narrative questions. You do not have to include the questions themselves in your application. The finished product should be 3-pages or less in total, and must be in no smaller than 12 point Arial font with margins of no less than 1 inch.
  3. Then go back to the application page. Enter all required fields and upload your application. Note that the website WILL NOT ACCEPT documents in formats other than .pdf, .doc, and .docx (pdfs are preferred).
  4. Completed applications must be submitted through our website before midnight on the deadline date. You are allowed and encouraged to submit it early.
  5. We will notify you by email as soon as possible that we have received your application after it has been submitted. However, please note that we expect to receive many applications, and it may take us a few days to confirm with everyone.
  6. We will let you know whether or not you’ve been selected into the program in late August.
  7. If you are accepted, you will be required to submit proof of tax-exempt status or fiscal sponsorship by August 31.
What kind of training do the participants receive?

The formal training process is approximately two months long and culminates in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch event. During this time, participants have access to valuable strategic advice to help them strengthen their organizations, and will have the opportunity to cultivate ongoing relationships and other resources.

There are three aspects to the training program:

  • Presentation Workshop: Semi-finalists will participate in a workshop led by Andy Goodman to learn about the key elements of an effective presentation.
  • Coaching Sessions: Semi-finalists practice their pitch in front of a group of volunteer coaches from the business community who will provide immediate feedback on their presentation.
  • Mentoring & Presentation Development: Semi-finalists will also be assigned to work with two volunteer coaches who will assist them in distilling the feedback and refining their pitch into a crisp three-minute presentation.

How can I get involved?

There are many ways to show your support of the Social Innovation Fast Pitch.

Sponsors: This event is not possible without the financial assistance of generous supporters. Donations and grants are tax-deductible and will go toward supporting the program, event, and awards. A variety of sponsor levels are available, and we are also open to discussing creative ways for organizations to partner with us and contribute, including in-kind contributions.  If you are interested in sponsoring this high-profile and high-impact event, please click here for our sponsorship overvew and contact Diane Helfrey at diane.helfrey @ lasvp.org or 310.279.5029. 

Participants: In order to be considered for selection, nonprofits must apply through our website. The application period for the 2012 program is now closed.  If you have general questions about participating next year, contact Sarah Hill at info @ lasvp.org or 310-281-7509.

Coaches: Coaches are an essential part of the training program. Coaches attend the four coaching sessions to evaluate and give feedback to the nonprofits on their three-minute pitches. (Attendance at all four sessions is desirable, but not required.) In addition, they will mentor 1 or 2 nonprofits between sessions to refine their pitch. A training session will be held for Coaches on how to be effective in their volunteer role, and there will be additional support for volunteers throughout the process. If you are interested in participating as a volunteer Coach, please contact Diane Helfrey at diane @ lasvp.org.

For more information click here.

Who organizes the Social Innovation Fast Pitch?

Los Angeles Social Venture Partners (LASVP) organizes the Social Innovation Fast Pitch program.   LASVP has partnered with a number of leading organizations to market and produce the event, including the University of Southern California and the Annenberg Foundation. 

Los Angeles Social Venture Partners
LASVP (www.lasvp.org) is a diverse network of professionals who are pioneering a new model of giving – Engaged Philanthropy. LASVP taps the collective expertise and resources of our members and their networks to assist nonprofits in Los Angeles, collaborating with them to strengthen their organizations and expand their capacity to address major needs in our local communities. Our model fosters a community of socially-conscious and well-informed donors through hands-on involvement with Investees, collaboration with other SVP Partners, and participation in educational events. As a result, LASVP Partners become more educated and strategic in their philanthropic endeavors, and more actively committed to addressing the needs of Los Angeles. LASVP is a 501(c)3 public charity and an affiliate of Social Venture Partners International (www.svpi.org).

 

 
 
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For more information please call 310.281.7509 or email: info @ lasvp.org

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