Submitted by willp on

Despite leveraging learning from SVP's fast pitch events in LA, Dallas, and Phoenix, we still had a lot to learn in 2011.  The list of small operational improvements we're making is too long to bore you with.  But we did learn some important big things via surveys and direct feedback from innovators after the program conclusion last year, and from ongoing research we've been conducting recently.  Here are highlights of changes to the SIFP 2012 program:

Area 

What's new and different in 2012?

Application clarity Gust application questions on the busines/financial front are about the same, but we've clarified and slightly expanded the "supplemental" questions to ensure we can better understand the innovations and needs of applicants early in the process.
Length of program There is much more time between major milestones, 5.5 months total.  This will make things easier on innovators as well as volunteers.
Capacity Building Added 4 workshops *before* applications are due.  Attendance at one is required for early-stage participants.
  Strengthening mentoring program; single mentor per innovator; mentors can tap resources of "Volunteer Experts"
  Recruiting cadre of Volunteer Experts to help innovators in targeted areas
  Added in-person pitch training from world-class expert Jerry Weissman
Early-stage & Later-stage differentiation Created 5th track, for later-stage nonprofits, with a dedicated $25k grant.  This will enable better apples-to-apples comparisons and let our judges clearly recognize the excellent and innovative work of organizations who are already delivering impact in our community.
Simplified judging criteria Rubric is simplified and will be applied more consistently from screening through final judging
Seating We are configuring Seatle Center's Fisher Pavilion for an audience of at least 900 seated social innovation enthusiasts
Community Showcase

We've added a tent outside of Fisher Pavillion to give substantially more space for registration and for the Community Showcase (poster-table event) before and after the big stage competition.

Like you, we're always learning and innovating.  If you have suggestions on other things we should consider doing to maximize our ability to help social innovators in the Puget Sound region, please comment on this blog, or if you prefer, email directly us directly:  communications <at> sifp <dot> net