SVP Chicago 2020 Fast Pitch
Submission Deadline01/29/2020

Thanks for your interest in SVP Chicago's 2020 Fast Pitch Program.  Please read all the information about the program, especially timeline and Rules section, before submitting your application.  To learn more about SVP Chicago and Fast Pitch visit  You can preview the application with the word document version in the attachments section. 

Fast Pitch is a free two-month training and mentoring program for innovative nonprofits that are effecting social change in Chicago, culminating in the Fast Pitch competition in April.

Fifteen nonprofit leaders are selected to participate based on their innovative approaches to creating social change and their potential for significant positive community impact. They receive training and mentoring over the course of two months from SVP Chicago partners on how to “tell their story” in a powerful and compelling way.

The program culminates in a “Fast Pitch” competition – a high energy, rapid-fire presentation event during which eight finalists share the mission, vision and impact of their organization with the audience and judges – in just three minutes!

Why participate?

  • The Fast Pitch program helps nonprofit leaders craft and deliver a compelling 3-minute pitch.
    • Succinctly capture someone’s interest to open the door to a longer conversation.
    • Develop key messages that can be used across communications platforms.
    • Improve public speaking skills.
  • Get exposure to a crowd of more than 300, including business and community leaders – reach potential new board members, donors, volunteers, and recommenders.
  • Network with nonprofit peers and identify possible collaborators and partnership opportunities.

Fast Pitch finalists compete for $40,000 in prizes and pro bono services:

  • First place $10,000
  • Coaches’ award $7,500
  • Audience choice $5,000
  • Finalists who don’t win one of the top three prizes receive $1,000; semi-finalists receive $500
  • At least two pro bono service awards valued at $5,000 or more will be awarded


  • January 28: Applications due by midnight.
  • February 13:  15 organizations will be invited to participate in the 2020 Fast Pitch program.
  • February 25: Nonprofit and coaches Orientation and networking event.
  • March 3:  1st Practice pitch. Coaches share feedback and scoring with presenters.
  • March 4-16: Coaches meet with semi-finalists to review and discuss scores, ranking and written feedback (at least one-hour meeting within this timeframe).
  • March 17: Second practice pitch. Coaches share feedback and scoring with presenters.
  • March 18-30: Coaches meet with semi-finalists to review and discuss scores, ranking and written feedback (at least one-hour meeting within this timeframe).
  • March 31: Third practice pitch. Steering committee selects top eight organizations to pitch during the showcase event.
  • April 21: Showcase event at Uptake. Top eight nonprofits pitch.


Up to 15 nonprofit leaders will be selected to participate in the Fast Pitch program. Applicant organizations must meet the following requirements:

Nonprofit organization – Applicants must have their designation from the IRS as a 501c3 organization or fiscal sponsorship.

Location – Nonprofits must be located in, and serve, the greater Chicagoland area.

Presenter – Individuals presenting on behalf of their organization must hold the title of executive director, CEO, president, founder or senior development officer (or a comparable role).

Size –There are no restrictions on size, budget or age of the organization. Applying organizations must have at least one full-time equivalent employee.

Cost – There is no fee to participate in the program or for finalists who present at the event.


  • Organizations that have applied for the Fast Pitch program in the past but were not selected to participate in the two-month program may reapply.
  • Organizations that have pitched in a prior SVP Chicago Fast Pitch final showcase event will not be considered with the same participant.
  • Prior applicants for SVP’s investment cycles may apply except that past or current SVP investees will not be considered.
  • Preference will be given to participants and organizations that have not participated in the past.


Applications are rated based on:

  • Approach: The organization’s approach to solving the problem is novel and unique.
  • Potential: The organization’s potential for impact is great.
  • Inspirational: The organization is exciting and inspiring.
  • Compelling: The presenter’s rationale for participating in Fast Pitch is compelling.


Submitting this application indicates that you are available to participate in all Fast Pitch events including the orientation, practice pitches and showcase (should you be a finalist).

Orientation - February 25 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Practice Pitch 1 - March 3 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Practice Pitch 2 - March 17 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Practice Pitch 3 - March 31 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Showcase event - April 21 6:00pm - 8:30pm

Your SVP Chicago Fast Pitch application constitutes your consent to be photographed, filmed and/or otherwise recorded, and to any use, in any and all media for SVP Chicago, of your appearance, voice and name for any purpose in connection with this event. By submitting this application, you release SVP Chicago, its employees, and any outside third party interests from any claims of liability in connection with your participation in the production of these photographs or recordings.

If you have any questions, please contact

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