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Manon Banta of Mobile Film Classroom pitching at the 2013 Social Innovation Fast Pitch

Modeled on venture capital funding competitions, Fast Pitch helps organizations define their impact, powerfully communicate their vision, and raise more funds as a result.

2016 Application Information

The application period for 2016 has CLOSED.  If you applied in October 2015, here’s what to expect next:

  • We will notify you by email as soon as we have received your application, and we will let you know whether or not you’ve been selected into the program by mid-December.
  • If you are accepted, you will be required to submit proof of tax-exempt status or fiscal sponsorship to keep your place in the program. We will also confirm your availability for all the session days: Tuesday 1/12, Monday 1/25, Tuesday 2/9, Tuesday 2/23, Wednesday 3/2, and Tuesday 3/8.

2016 Key Dates

  • Friday, October 16th, 11:59pm
    Deadline for applications
  • By December 18th
    Semi-finalists notified of selection
  • Tuesday, January 12th
    Presentation Workshop, followed by a session with Fast Pitch Alumni
    1:00 – 5:30p, Downtown
  • Monday, January 25th
    Coaching Session #1
    1:30 – 5:15p, Downtown
  • Tuesday, February 9th
    Coaching Session #2
    10:00a – 1:45p, Downtown
  • Tuesday, February 23rd
    Coaching Session #3
    10:00a – 1:45p, Culver City
  • Wednesday, February 24th
    10 Finalists selected for presenting
  • Wednesday, March 2nd
    Coaching session #4 for the ten finalists
    2:00 – 5:30p, Downtown
  • Tuesday, March 8th
    Social Innovation Fast Pitch event at the Skirball Cultural Center

About the Selection Process

  • The Selection Committee reviews all submissions and invites 20 semi-finalists to participate in the program.  Participants must be available to attend all sessions to be accepted into the program.
  • Semi-finalists attend a presentation workshop and have two weeks to prepare a first draft of their 3-minute pitch outlining their organization’s mission, vision and impact for the first coaching session.
  • Semi-finalists participate in three group coaching session and receive one-on-one mentoring. This process distills the key elements of their mission, approach, impact, and needs into a three-minute presentation. Participants have access to valuable strategic advice and resources, and have the opportunity to cultivate ongoing relationships.
  • The Selection Committee chooses up to ten finalists, based on coaches input, to present at the event and compete for cash grants.
  • The 10 finalists have one final group coaching session before the final event.

Eligibility Information

All applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Nonprofit organization – Applicants must submit their designation from the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization or proof of fiscal sponsorship no later than Thursday 12/31/15 if selected. Individuals are not eligible.
  • Location – Nonprofits must have significant operations in and impact benefiting residents of L.A. County. Organizations may be based outside of Los Angeles but 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 senior-level position with significant organizational decision-making responsibility, and should have at least six (6) months of tenure with the organization. Presenters should work or live in L.A. County in order to utilize the coaching resources available to them.
  • Size – There are no restrictions based on organizational size, budget or age of organization.
  • Cost – There is no fee to participate in the program or for finalists who present at the event.
  • Alumni – Prior applicants who were not selected may reapply; but organizations and/or individuals who previously participated in any portion of the coaching process are not eligible to apply.

If you have any questions about whether you are eligible to apply, please contact us.

Participation Requirements

We are looking for presenters who are committed to the process during the program timeline. Therefore:

  • Presenters must attend the following sessions (if you have a known conflict, please contact SVP to discuss prior to applying to the program, as absences will be taken into consideration when selecting finalists):
    • Initial Presentation Workshop and Alumni Session – 1/12/16
    • Four 3.5-hour Group Coaching Sessions – 1/25, 2/9, 2/23, and (for finalists) 3/2
  • Utilize the group coaching sessions and coaches assigned to mentor you to produce a crisp, engaging three-minute presentation of the organization’s mission, distinctive approach, impact and “the ask.”
  • Be open to advice and coaching by business and community leaders.
  • Understand that a good pitch is about more than just asking for money and one must be able to articulate how people can help the organization through volunteering, making connections, or providing other in-kind support.
  • In order to benefit from the program, participants should plan to spend a minimum of 2 hours a week working on their pitch outside of the group sessions. Many past participants reported spending significantly more time.

Selection Criteria

A team of SVP Partners score the applications on the following criteria:

  • Social Problem – It is understood what social problem this organization is trying to solve, why they do what they do, and who is affected by their work.
  • Organization and Programs – Clearly articulates what the organization does and how they do it.
  • Innovation – The approach to solving the social problem is novel or unique. The innovation leads to more dramatic long-term results than other, more conventional models or practices. Keep in mind that innovation can come in many forms: new products or services, new ways of delivering services, applying technology creatively, or new business models or collaborations. If the idea isn’t new, the organization should focus on how they are a unique and refreshing change from the usual approach.
  • Potential for significant societal impact – The organization addresses the root of the problem rather than only the symptoms. Metrics are being used to assess long-term outcomes, not just outputs or activities. Organization shows signs that progress has been made towards goals.


Emerging Nonprofit Track

SVP will be launching a pilot program in 2016 for emerging nonprofits participating in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch program. A block of ~4 program slots will be held for organizations self- identifying in this category.

What do we mean by “emerging”? Although there may be some exceptions, we define emerging organizations as having the following characteristics: less than 3 years old, have fewer than three full-time staff, a budget under $300,000, and a goal to significantly grow the organization.

In 2016, SVP will focus on matching these organizations with coaches who have specific expertise, and are well-versed in the unique circumstances that newer nonprofits face.

Program Details

Frequently Asked Questions