Getting Creative with the Nonprofit Marketing Summit’s Social Impact Pitch Competition

by Maria Sadusky  |   |  Company Culture  |  0 comments

5 min to read ✭ In case you missed it, here is a recap of the Social Impact Pitch Competition from the Nonprofit Marketing Summit. Four nonprofits competed for cash prizes and free services that will help scale impact for their organizations. You will learn about the judges, the rubric, the four finalists, and how the pitch competition worked. Read below to see who won!

Overview of the Social Impact Pitch Competition

For our August Nonprofit Marketing Summit, we wanted to bring something new to the table. With the goal of inspiring our attendees to get creative and think big, we launched our Shark Tank-style inaugural Social Impact Pitch Competition as the closing keynote of Summit Day 2. In this session, nonprofits had the opportunity to win $100,000+ in prizes and services as they pitched their game-changing ideas to some of the most influential and accomplished leaders in the social space.


After opening applications two months before the event, we received over 150+ applications from some of the most innovative nonprofits in the world. After hours of hand reviewing, internal deliberation, research, and discussion, we picked four finalists that would showcase their nonprofit’s mission live to three incredible judges. Each finalist made a video telling their story then faced live Q&A from the judges before the final verdict.


Our Judges and the Scoring Rubric

We welcomed three incredible judges from the social sector: Tammy Charles, Founder and CEO of Inovo Strategic Consulting; James Martin, CEO of Rally Corp; and Angelica Guardia, Program Manager of Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact. 

The judges used a rubric to carefully speculate four areas on a scale of 1-10, along with the overall mission of the nonprofit. The areas they were evaluated on were: 

  1. Innovation: How innovative is the team/culture/organization? Does an investment in them now likely mean investing in more innovative solutions down the road?
  2. Scalability: How truly scalable is this solution? In an ideal world, a solution gains value and efficiency as it scales.
  3. Differentiation/Defensibility: How unique and differentiated of an idea is this? Of other organizations solving this problem, does this one solve it differently and more effectively? 
  4. Impact of Investment: How effective will an infusion of marketing services and fundraising tech be at helping this organization scale their impact?


Our Finalists and the Prizes

We really have to give a huge shoutout to all sponsors involved in bringing this impactful pitch competition to fruition. All of our judges mentioned above from Inovo Strategic Consulting, Rally Corp, Microsoft, along with Stanford Social Innovation Review and The Giving Block donated 1:1 consulting sessions, access to software and tools for nonprofits, and free subscriptions. 


Lastly, our own team at Community Boost donated one full year of digital marketing services including digital strategy, analytics and reporting, Ad Grants management, Facebook ads management, paid search management, YouTube ads management, LinkedIn ads management, SEO, email marketing strategic consulting, video editing support, advanced digital ad creative, and more. Plus, $10,000 to the winning nonprofit! 


Now, let’s talk about these four incredible organizations that are solving pressing problems with unique, innovative, and scalable solutions.


Well Aware

This nonprofit has spent 11 years funding and implementing clean water systems in East Africa while maintaining a 100% success rate across all systems. This means that they have impacted nearly 300,000 people through clean water and have developed a sustainability model that brings water to one person for life for just $15 USD. 


As of last year, Well Aware is the first nonprofit organization to deploy a game-changing software to extend the life of water system infrastructure and to remotely engage with and train last-mile communities. Through this new app, they have trained 2,500+ people in 53 communities on COVID-19 defense and they have deployed the water system maintenance app for 16 water systems with 10 more to go! 


International Anti-Poaching Foundation

IAPF’s mission is to end poaching in Africa. Over the last 11 years, they have supported or led 50+ conservation initiatives and helped protect over 9.8 million acres of wilderness saving countless wildlife. As a result, 80% of poaching has ended, there is a 350% increase in wildlife over 460K+ of protected areas, and 200+ rangers have been trained which is bringing jobs and an economic presence to rural areas. 


Recently they have been focusing more on leading the way by empowering women to become rangers. Something many doubted would be effective.


Philanthropy Together

Philanthropy Together officially launched to the public in April 2020 as a global initiative to scale and strengthen the collective giving movement and already has plans to grow the movement to 3,000 racially diverse individuals which will reach 350,000 people and unlock $1 billion in grassroots giving by 2025. Their mission is to democratize and diversify philanthropy through the power of giving circles.


They aim to have 50% of all our program attendees be BIPOC with an emphasis on diverse communities that are not traditionally represented in philanthropy. To date, 208 people were trained through Launchpad. 80% are women and 58% self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. This represented 12 countries and 29 states. Strengthening Philanthropy Together’s initiatives and projects increases the long-term innovation, viability, sustainability of the giving circle model. 


Lotus Campaign

Lotus Campaign is a nonprofit startup focused on housing-driven solutions for homelessness. Their unique approach brings together the for-profit and nonprofit sectors to create scalable, no-nonsense solutions around homelessness and housing. Since launching their pilot program in Charlotte, NC July 2018, they have helped more than 322 people transition into housing at an annual cost of less than $800 per person and invested in their first multi-family real estate property which reserves 20% of the units for Lotus Campaign clients.


Believing that homelessness is a barometer of social justice, Lotus Campaign is solving for the absence of collaboration between the non-profit (social service providers working with homelessness) and for-profit sectors (market-rate multi-family property landlords), serving as the bridge to break down barriers (both perceived and real) dividing the two.


Results and Impact

So, who won? Our judges expressed how difficult of a decision this was but in the end had no choice but to come up with one winner. Without further adieu, let’s give a huge congratulations to Lotus Campaign, the winner of the 2021 Social Impact Pitch Competition! 


Right now, they are in conversation with the cities of Sacramento, Nashville, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. Winning this competition will immediately support their expansion into one of the cities named here. Several champions in these cities are working on introductions to connect Lotus Campaign with donor prospects. Their budget projections for a second pilot are $500k in year one with another $250k to carry the pilot into a second year as they look towards a sustainable long-term program. We can not wait to see the level of social impact that results for this nonprofit!

Maria Sadusky

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