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SVP International

Frequently Asked Questions





What is an Innovator?

Innovators are the participants in SVP Fast Pitch. The origin of the term references the program’s focus on innovation from each organization to tackle some of our region’s most pressing issues.

What is a “Fast Pitch”?

A “Fast Pitch” is a high-energy, fast-moving presentation, where entrepreneurs share the mission, vision, promise, and model of their organization – all in under five minutes! Presenters must be succinct, compelling and passionate.

During each pitch, participants are given time markers to know when they have 1 min, 30 seconds and zero time left of their 5 minute slot. Innovators can leverage slides to capture key data points and visuals to help bring their story to life.

Check out finalists pitches from 20172016 and 2015 for inspiration!

How is 2018 different from past years?

Entering its eighth year, SVP Fast Pitch will pilot a number of  program changes designed to create more opportunity for valuable interaction between innovators and mentors, while continuing to provide a forum for intentional connection, collaboration and growth among the Fast Pitch community.

Visit the program updates page for a full list of changes in 2018.

RSVP for the application and program info session on Tuesday, June 12th for more info on what this year will look like.

How do I Apply?

Check out the eligibility criteria for each track (startup nonprofit, established nonprofit and for-profit). A one-sheet on innovator applications is available here.

Applications are currently not available for the 2019 program year. The application process will be held online and will potentially include a follow up in-person meeting or phone call with the team.

A Selection Committee made up of SVP members and community volunteers will review all submissions and invite approximately 20 semifinalists to participate in the program. See judging criteria for details on the pillars of evaluation by the team. All applicants will receive written feedback from screeners.

Info sessions will also be scheduled to learn more about the application process and general program elements for you to decide if Fast Pitch is a good fit!

What time commitment should I expect if I am chosen as a Semifinalist?

Please consider and prepare for a significant time commitment once accepted to the program. Average minimum time commitment expected over 3 month period totals 40hrs+.

Please stay tuned for the release of our schedule for 2019. 

What kind of training do the participants receive?

There are three aspects to the training program:

Orientation Workshop: Semifinalists will participate in a workshop to learn about the key elements of an effective story & pitch.
Practice Sessions: Semifinalists practice their pitch in front of a group of volunteer coaches and peers who will provide immediate feedback on their presentation.
Mentoring & Presentation Development: Semifinalists will also be assigned to work with two volunteer coaches who will assist them in distilling the feedback and refining their presentation into a crisp five-minute pitch.

What Happens at a Group Session?

All innovators and coaches will attend group sessions to build confidence in your presentation skills and hone your pitch skills as we move towards the selection of finalist presenters.

The program calendar will be released, please make sure you are able to attend each meeting.  Each session will begin with community announcements, with the remainder of the evening spent practicing pitches. Each innovator will give their five minute pitch to coaches and peers, followed by a few minutes of live feedback and questions from the group. Innovators will also be provided written feedback from the cohort to review with their coaches and incorporate as it makes sense. Each pitch will be videotaped and made available to innovators to study and practice further.

Outside of the practice sessions, we will hold optional learning sessions with guest speakers presenting topical content from communications and storytelling, to development and financial fitness.

What Awards are available to win?

SVP Fast Pitch is funded by the generous donations of our sponsors and ticket sales to the Final Showdown. In 2017, total cash grants and pro-bono services totaled over $100,000.

Total grant pools will fluctuate each year, below figures are range estimates and will be confirmed in the coming months.


Track* Winner: $10-$20K

Track* Runner Up: $5-$10K

Audience Choice Award: $1-3K

*Awarded to each track: established nonprofit, startup nonprofit startup for-profit.


All Innovators:

Angel Awards: Lucky audience members and sponsors have the chance to award $250-$500 checks to the innovator of their choice! (multiple awards)

Participation Grant: $500 award to all participants that did not receive grant money on stage.

Individual Fundraising: All innovators will have the opportunity for individual giving at the dedicated booth space during the innovator expo.


What’s Racial Equity?

Diversity involves the awareness and appreciation of difference. Cultural competency focuses on skills development for working across cultural lines. And racial equity looks squarely at access to resources, power and privilege. It examines how systems (education, criminal justice, healthcare, housing, etc.) impact individuals and communities. While important steps to achieving racial equity – diversity and cultural competency do not solve systemic oppression alone.

For more information on SVP’s work and focus on racial equity click here.

Where Can I Start Learning About Racial Equity?

Understanding racial equity, Equity Matters

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race, TEDx Talks

How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them, TEDx Talks

Understanding King County Racial Inequities, United Way King County

Seattle schools have biggest white-black achievement gap in state, Seattle Times

Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project: Racial Restrictive Covenants, UW

King County quick stats, U.S. Census Bureau

Income Inequality in King County, King County

For more information on SVP’s work and focus on racial equity click here.

What is the Final Showdown?

The Final showdown is the culminating event of the season. It is an inspirational night of energy, connection and celebration highlighting the impactful work being done in the community. See creativity, commitment and compassion come together as each of the ten finalists tells their story in a 5 minute pitch. Vote for your favorites and share in the excitement as winners receive grants, prizes and the coveted Audience Choice Award.

The evening features a pre and post event reception where you can visit participant booths, enjoy food and beverage and network with other community members. Planning is underway for our next event and the date and venue have not yet been confirmed. Stay tuned!

Who should attend the Final Showdown?

Anyone interested in learning about and supporting innovation in the social sector in the Greater Puget Sound area. 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 the Puget Sound area.

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