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SVP International

Social Innovation Fast Pitch

Seeking L.A.’s most innovative and high-impact nonprofit organizations

“Over $40,000 in awards and the chance to tell your story to an audience of hundreds, including representatives from major foundations, corporations and the community.”

About Fast Pitch

The Social Innovation Fast Pitch is a free two-month communication skills training program for nonprofits that are creating lasting social change in Greater Los Angeles. This year, it culminates in the Social Innovation Fast Pitch & Showcase on March 22, 2018 at the Wilshire Ebell Theater.  The program trains nonprofit leaders to powerfully communicate their story, and connects them with leaders in the business, philanthropic, and nonprofit communities who help them achieve their goals.

Leaders from 20 organizations will be selected to participate based on the degree to which their approaches to pressing issues give them a competitive advantage to significantly increase social impact.  Past participants have described the program as invaluable – resulting in greater confidence and effectiveness when presenting, increased exposure for their organization, important new relationships, and additional support from donors and volunteers.

At the final event, up to 10 finalists will make three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and an audience of approximately 600 philanthropic, business, civic, and nonprofit leaders, competing to win awards totaling over $40,000.  Following the program, the audience and participants meet and connect during a showcase reception.

Past grant winners include 2nd Call, Flintridge Center, Swipes, Wolf Connection, New Earth, Young Invincibles, First Place for Youth, Gumball Foundation, Food Forward, and others.


Innovative nonprofit organizations are using limited resources in creative and effective ways to deliver lasting social impact.  Leaders of these organizations have a vision for solving social issues rather than simply alleviating the symptoms.  We look for innovative, impactful organizations who meet the following criteria:

  • They are entrepreneurial, resourceful, and focused on long-term outcomes.
  • They create elegant solutions to complex social problems.
  • They design new, non-obvious approaches to improve products or services or deliver them to new populations in ways that society does not expect.
  • They may be employing advanced technologies, leveraging collaborations with other nonprofits, or applying promising business models such as social enterprises to create earned income or employment.
  • They generate greater social return than the status quo through better outcomes and/or more cost-effective solutions.

SVP Los Angeles believes that diversity creates a rich learning environment, and we seek to build a cohort of leaders that reflects the diversity of race, ethnicity, gender expression, age, ability, and sexual orientation here in Los Angeles.





  • Nonprofit organization – Applicants must submit their designation from the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization or proof of fiscal sponsorship no later than Friday 12/15/17 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 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.



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 demonstrates an innovative approach. The innovation leads to more dramatic long-term results than other, more conventional models or practices. 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 refreshing change from the usual approach.
    • Potential for significant societal impact – The organization addresses a pressing social issue in Los Angeles County. Metrics are being used to assess long-term outcomes, not just outputs or activities.  Organization shows signs that progress has been made towards goals.
    • Leadership – The organization has leaders with relevant experience and is deemed likely to succeed.



We are looking for presenters who are committed to the process during the program timeline. Therefore, presenters must attend all of the following sessions:

  • Orientation Workshop – 1/9/18
  • Four x 4-hour Group Coaching Sessions – 1/23/18, 2/6/18, 2/20/18, and (for finalists) 3/6/18.If you have a known conflict with any of the above dates, please contact SVP to discuss prior to applying to the program. Absences will be taken into consideration when selecting finalists.
  • 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 4 hours a week working on their pitch outside of the group sessions. Many past participants reported spending significantly more time.



  • Applications must be submitted online through our website, and will be accepted until November 14th at 5pmApply via our website.
  • The Selection Committee will review all submissions, and, based on the submissions and possible fact-checking or other follow-up, will invite approximately 20 organizations to participate.
  • These 20 semi-finalists will attend a presentation training workshop and have approximately 2 weeks to prepare for the first group coaching session.
  • The semi-finalists will participate in three group coaching sessions and receive one-on-one mentoring between sessions. This process will help them to distill the key elements of their message into a three-minute presentation.  They will have access to valuable strategic advice and resources, and will have the opportunity to cultivate ongoing relationships.
  • The 10 finalists will have one additional group coaching session before the event.



  • Tuesday, November 14th, 5:00pm
    Deadline for applications
  • By December 12th
    Semi-finalists notified of selection
  • Tuesday, January 9th
    Presentation Workshop, with Fast Pitch Alumni
    1:00 – 5:00pm, LA84 Foundation
    Happy Hour: 5:30pm – 7:00p
  • Tuesday, January 23rd
    Coaching Session #1
    10am – 2pm, LA84 Foundation
  • Tuesday, February 6th
    Coaching Session #2
    1pm – 5pm, LA84 Foundation
  • Tuesday, February 20th
    Coaching Session #3
    10am – 2pm, LA84 Foundation
  • Tuesday, February 27th
    10 Finalists selected for presenting
  • Tuesday, March 6th
    Coaching session #4 for the ten finalists only
    1pm – 5pm, LA84 Foundation
  • Thursday, March 22nd
    Social Innovation Fast Pitch event at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre



Read the questions below and familiarize yourself with the other information requested on the registration page of our website before submitting your online form.
Submit the online application which can be found here. Completed applications must be submitted through our website by Tuesday, November 14th at 5pm. You are encouraged to submit early.
We will notify you by email as soon as we have received your application and we will let you know whether you’ve been selected into the program or not by December 12th.
If you are accepted, you will be required to submit proof of tax-exempt status or fiscal sponsorship no later than December 15th.

We encourage you to call us if you have questions about eligibility, program participation requirements, the application or other questions. You can also join us for an informational webinar on Tuesday October 17th at 12noon PST, to learn more about Fast Pitch and how to apply. Email your name and organization to rsvp@svpla.org to sign up for the webinar.

CONTACT: Sharon Stratton, Social Venture Partners | Email: sstratton@lasvp.org | Phone: 310.305.1761


Applications for Fast Pitch 2018 are no longer being accepted.

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