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Learn More and Hone Your Plan and Pitch

Calendar  |  Process  |  Guide  |  Judging Rubric  | Awards  |  FAQs

The Fast Pitch team has lined up 5 ways for you to hone your plan and pitch:

1. Workshops

Pre-application Jumpstart Workshops

2. Reading

Recommendations below

3. Mentoring

After quarterfinalist’s are announced

4. Pitching

Pitch clinics

5. Presenting

Recommendations on One-Pagers and Posters below

Please familiarize yourself with the resources we are providing, as outlined on this page and the linked “Resources” page.  We will be adding links and resources as the training progresses, and we’ll be blogging to share advice and take feedback along the way.

1. Workshops

The two workshops we currently offer are the online Andy Goodman Fast Pitch workshop and the pitch clinics. The Andy Goodman workshop is available now and linked from the email you received when your application was accepted.  Anyone and everyone can benefit from Andy’s workshop, no matter how experienced a presenter you are.  We will assume that pitch clinic participants will have watched the workshop in advance and used Andy’s guidance to improve their first pitches.

Pitch clinics offer small-group experiential learning about delivering your message in the 5-minute fast-pitch format.  Each clinic will be kicked off by an experienced trainer for 30 minutes, and then each participant will have roughly 15 minutes in which to give their 5 minute pitch and receive constructive feedback (with a timer – no going over!).  Feedback will come from pitch coaches AND from other participants in the clinic. Every fast pitch will be captured on video, and uploaded to Pixelflow, a service that allows presenters and mentors to watch the video and discuss areas of improvement.  The Pixelflow service also enables presenters to re-record a segment or an entire fast-pitch via a webcam, and share that with your mentors/advisors to get additional feedback.

To help you prepare for the pitch clinic, we’ve created two sample powerpoint decks, one ‘minimalist‘, and another ‘max‘.  We recommend starting with the minimalist deck and adding as needed.  We’ve never encountered a social innovator or entrepreneur who has too little to say about his plan. Download these PPT files by clicking on the links which should bring up a download dialog or notice at the bottom of your browser.  Note that you can use whatever slide template, format, software, and visuals you want.  These PPTs are provided just as an example to get you started.  One key requirement is that you must email your presentation to our competition coordinator by 8pm the night before your pitch clinic. You will not be able to use your own PC or Mac for workshops or competition presentations.

Viewing the Goodman online workshop and participation in the pitch clinic is optional but highly recommended if you want to be competitive in the quarterfinals.

Alissa Johnson’s presentation from the pitch clinic training is here.

2. Reading

Prior to and again after the pitch clinic, we advise all participants to take some time to review a number of resources we have assembled for you. We have compiled these documents based on the advice of members of the SVP Fast Pitch team, other social entrepreneurs, and academic and business advisers. Reading and resources are listed here.

3. Mentoring

By Monday July 2, we will notify each quarter finalist of a primary and alternate mentor.  Mentors are volunteers from the community who have either business or nonprofit experience and can act as a sounding board to hear your pitch, read your application and executive summary, and give you feedback.   They have committed to providing at least two hours of their time with you, with more time made available upon mutual need/agreement.  We recommend you connect with them after the pitch clinic, so they can see your pitch, help you with content and message, and also engage in a discussion of your overall plan.  Using Pixelflow (described in Pitch Clinic above) and Skype or a similar tool will be very helpful.  Your mentor will get to know your business or organization and will provide input to the quarter finalist and semifinalist judging team by attaching notes to your Angelsoft application.

Where you go from the initial engagement will be up to each of you and your mentors.  We hope some long term relationships will be formed.

4. Pitching

It will not come as a surprise to you that we feel pitching is an important skill to develop.  You’ve likely heard the question ‘How can you tell that an entrepreneur is pitching you?” with the answer of “Her/his lips are moving.”  There are few things more important than effective pitching to get others to fund you, donate to you, follow you, work for you, or partner with you.  The most successful contestants in SVP Fast Pitch will have at least five opportunities to practice and hone their pitching skills:

  • in the pitch clinic (with peer and coach feedback and discussion)
  • 1:1 with a mentor (online or in-person)
  • quarterfinal competition (with judge feedback)
  • semifinal presentation to judges
  • 1:1 presentation and discussion with audience after pitch event (table/poster format – details to come soon)
  • final presentation on pitch stage in front of up to 1000 attendees

Please re-review  Fast Pitch events calendar and block time on your calendar for these activities, as well as for time you can spend on your own practicing delivering your pitch in front of a mirror, family members and friends, understanding family pets, or whatever works for you.

5. Presenting

While this year’s training program does not have the capacity to go deep into design and development of presentation materials, the books we reference in the “Reading” section do have plenty of good recommendations.  We are also offering a few templates as guidance.   First are the “minimalist” and “max” deck templates linked in the Workshop section above.  While neither of these decks are what you’d pitch from, they should provide a solid starting point for building your presentation.

The second area for you to focus on is your “one-pager”.  In our application process, we collected about a page and a half of textual information about your organization.  This was used for screening applicants to ensure they match our program goals.  But we really want you to focus on your presentation of your organization or program, using your own words and graphics, representing your view of what’s important about your plan.  This one-pager will be valuable to you long beyond the SVP Fast Pitch competition.  We’ve been amazed at how few for-profit and nonprofit organizations can express their essence in one page.  We started SVP Fast Pitch Seattle with a one-pager in May 2011. We recently updated our one-pager, checking against the guidance provided below.   Feel free to use our original one-pager from September 2011  as a template if that helps you get a first draft done easily.

Checklist for a One-Pager

  • Expresses what you organization does in one sentence, using plain language
  • Clearly expresses the problem(s) you are solving
  • Tells how you are solving those problems, illustrating what’s innovative or different about your approach
  • Says what your goals are, in measurable and believable terms
  • Introduces your team and/or key contributors, providing credibility based on their experience and passion
  • Shows your sources of funding, based on your business model, earned income, and/or donors
  • Illustrates your knowledge and connection to the market in which you operate, through defined partnering plans and/or indication of relevant competition.
  • Provides contact name and email (or website) for more information


As a semi-finalist at the SVP Fast Pitch final event, you will have table space where you can network with the crowd, meet interested parties, and share contacts with colleagues and new friends.  Each team has the opportunity to prepare content for a sign that will help draw attention to your portion of your table.  SVP Fast Pitch will provide table signs at the event that will be large tri-fold displays measuring 36″ x 48″ in size.

(for more info, see this link: http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/597130/Pacon-Tri-Fold-Foam-Presentation-Board/)

Each display has three sections: 2 on the sides that are 12″ wide and a middle area that is 24″ wide.  The top 8 inches of the display will be pre-printed with your company name and SVP Fast Pitch logos resulting in 28 inches of usable height for your materials.  You are required to bring all other content for your sign.  The display can hold as many as 12 landscape 8.5 x 11 pages of information that will be affixed to your display at the event.  You are free to create any content you wish for these pages.  We will have glue sticks on hand to put your display together.

We recommend you consider the following content items for your display:

Company Tagline, Mission, One-liner, Vision, or Positioning Statement (5-10 words)

Images and diagrams that help to explain your organization or service

The 3 most important messages that you wish to convey to your audience.  These may include:

  • Description of Service: What do you do?
  • Areas of Impact and Sustainability for the Puget Sound Region
  • Highlights of Innovation


  • Keep your text large (48 point is best, do not go below 42 point) so it can be read at a distance.
  • Use color and images to attract attention The board color will be white, plan accordingly
  • Leave a good size margin at the bottom as content near the bottom may be obscured by materials on the table.

Final note:

You are free to arrive with any content for your sign that you see fit.  You can use the method described above of printing out letter sized sheets of paper or do anything else to fill the space of 48 wide by 28 tall.  As an alternative, Kinkos provides large format printing services that will print full color on a single sheet for this dimension for roughly $45.  Additionally, if you wish to replace your name at the top of the sign with your own logo artwork, that area is 24 inches wide by 8 inches tall. The upper 8 inches of the side panels are reserved for SVP Fast Pitch logos.

You can of course purchase your own board in advance if you want to do more work directly on the board.  The link above for OfficeDepot will help you locate one locally.  In this case, please still leave room for the SVP Fast Pitch logos at the top.  A template for this will be available on the SVP Fast Pitch website in the /learn URL by Tuesday September 27th.

Please feel free to bring any other handout materials, brochures, demonstration materials, or props to use at your table area.  There will be 3 groups represented at each 8′ table, so be mindful of your space limitations.

If you have questions about your sign, feel free to contact social@sifp.net

Making your own Posters:

Many of you are working on your own poster boards already, which is great.  This text is to share the elements that are necessary at the top of the board for consistent branding at the event.  If everyone follows along – it should look wonderful!

Remember: We will provide boards and branding elements at the event for construction before the event starts.  These notes are only for folks who are getting a jump on the board creation now and need assets now to do this work on their own.

Upper Right Panel

This panel has the “SVP Presents” information.  Included in this email are a number of different assets for this area.

PDF of the entire panel (side panels right.pdf) EPS and Illustrator CS4 version of the SVP logo If you are building your own art for this area – please do your best to match the font (myriad) and the color (pantone 1703u).

Upper Left Panel

This panel has both the SVP Fast Pitch logo and this year’s theme graphic, both enclosed in a box.  Attached to this email are the following:

PDF of the entire panel (side panels left.pdf) EPS and Illustrator CS4 versions of both logos

Center Name Plate Panel

In the center is simply the name of the company in an olive green color (pantone 449u) set in Myriad Bold.  An example file (likely not your own company name) has been included in PDF format (single name plate example.pdf).

Also fine a final PDF that shows the entire header area so you can see the entire 48 x 8 layout. (poster head all.pdf)

Again, these files are simply for those folks who are building their own artwork on their boards now and need these files to make seamless printouts.  We will have both pre-affixed boards and also extra copies of the top content for people to use on Monday afternoon.  Please make certain that you keep the top 8 inches of your board either identical to these files or clear of your own content.