Fast Pitch

Even though the appetizers were divine, I’ll stray from the food topic for this post. Earlier this week I was able to participate in a fantastic community event called Fast Pitch.

Batter Beware

Batter Beware

Fast Pitch is an evening of venture philanthropy combining entrepreneurial spirit with a desire to do good and investors who are interested in furthering good causes.

In an effort to support social entrepreneurs who are tackling some of our community’s most difficult issues, and to further the creative, vibrant culture in our area, Social Venture Partners Arizona (SVPAZ),  produce this annual social innovation.

A prestigious group of 20 local philanthropies are selected from an exponentially larger pool of applicants. Those companies receive 7 weeks training, feedback and mentoring on how to create and tell their stories – a skill that will live beyond any outcome of the Fast Pitch program. They’re also paired with 2 mentors  - sharp business leaders and marketing experts who coach them to their best performance. Their task is to create a compelling 3 minute elevator pitch about their cause and an ask for support. At the end of 7 weeks, the class is reduced to 8 finalists who move forward and compete at the big Fast Pitch event.

With 8 contestants remaining and a 3 minute limit, an electrifying 24 minute competition takes place. Yes, with an audience of 500, it reeks a bit of American Idol but this show produces lasting goose bumps and there’s no Simon Cowell of critical remarks. At the end of each 3-minute presentation, two judges make affirmative remarks and ask probing questions. I had the great fortune to be one of those judges.

All 8 finalists received valuable visibility for their causes. They also built strong cross-sector relationships with the other contestants that will be the basis for support and friendship in the future. Four of the presenters left with handsome cash prizes in one of four categories; the Audience award, the Mentor award, the Judges award and finally the Social Venture Partners award. These prizes ranges from $2,500 to a 5-year commitment of close to $100,000 and every penny was donated by community members anxious to participate in this new fangled method of innovative social leadership.

What surprised me even more were the philanthropic agents in the crowd who offered additional funding to some of these participants on behalf of their clients. There were other foundations and community groups who asked for follow-up meetings. Finally, I must mention that several local businesses underwrote the cost of the event and SVP was able to charge a premium price for seats furthering the sustainability of this model. The energy and the good vibe was visible – I won’t miss it next year!

Congratulations to the 2013 Fast Pitch Finalists!

Want to see change in your community? Go change it! 

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36 Comments

  1. What an honour to be a judge. It sounds like a great competition xx

    Reply
  2. Sally

     /  March 8, 2013

    So inspiring and reading through the FINALISTS, an awesome task. I can only imagine the challenges and excitement. Really Wonderful that which was presented. I can only imagine how difficult and exciting this endeavor was.
    Great post.

    Reply
  3. Lisa H

     /  March 8, 2013

    Sounds like a wonderful program! I never knew anything like that existed. It must have been a great experience to participate in such an uplifting program.

    Reply
  4. Interesting event, Tammy. Fundraising is becoming “big business” . . . with all sorts of organizations sprouting up to enhance the fundraising potential of professional fundraisers. And some of the salaries of fundraising professionals make me question who benefits from our charitable donations ~ the cause . . . or the folks on the payroll.

    One quick fix needed: wreaks a bit of American Idol ~ reeks

    Reply
    • Thanks for the correction – will do. This was big business but a really great way to get the community involved in the process and the philanthropy wide exposure.

      Reply
  5. Audrey Alderson

     /  March 8, 2013

    We applied and they said our mission did not meet the criteria????!!!

    Reply
    • Hmmm. Maybe you can ask them to clarify Audrey. I’m not sure what the actual criteria is.

      Reply
  6. DH

     /  March 8, 2013

    I wondered where you were that night. We had grilled artichokes. The boys loved them. You missed it. Love, DH

    Reply
  7. What a fantastic experience and a great opportunity for a lot of people!

    Reply
  8. Sally

     /  March 9, 2013

    The Juice fast? Aw yes, the juice fast. Very well actually but it is cleansing and that has some drawbacks. Very energizing and I sleep like a baby. Might have to incorporate this routine once a month.

    Reply
  9. What an amazing event, Tammy, and I’m not surprised that you were part of it! :) You always widen my horizons and give me a peek at all the great ways people are working together to do good!

    Reply
  10. Kathy McNamara

     /  March 10, 2013

    Once again impressed with the things you do! Your commitment to being socially responsible is amazing. It’s nice to see organizations not waiting on the government to lend a helping hand. It is interesting to me that prior to the Great Depression – government wasn’t involved in taking care of the community, it was the communities and churches that did. I do wonder if they got out of that business and let the churches administer and take care of the community if we wouldn’t be in a better place.

    Reply
    • It’s hard to speculate Kathy and there does always need to be a safety net for those who might fall through. These non-profits were really focused on doing great things for those in need.

      Reply
  11. Tammy, this sounds like an event with admirable focus and effectiveness. I wonder if they do anything like it over here?

    Reply
  12. What a great initiative!

    Reply
  13. What a great & lovely opportunity for you! Cool, hey!

    Reply
  14. Tammy, have never really heard of this before (or maybe never listened.) Very fascinating. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • It’s a remarkable sense of community building. Social entrepreneurs solving a community issue. The SVP giving them support and refinement in telling their stories. The community getting to hear all of the pitches and then reward the ones that they feel is filling the biggest need.

      Reply
  15. What a way to pull a community together with postive vibes!!! congrats!

    Reply
  16. Tammy, it says so much about you being selected as a judge! Congratulations on such an honor – It sounds very, very exciting to be part of.

    Reply
  17. Congratulations, what a great honor! I’ve never heard of this, I only know charity runs. Wonderful event! :)

    Reply
    • Yes, it’s much more compelling than a run although those are great also. Hope you’re feeling well.

      Reply

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