The Sacramento Public Library Foundation was the big winner at Wednesday’s Social Venture Partners’ Fast Pitch event held at Golden 1 Center, taking home the judges’ overall prize of $10,000. The nonprofit organization also earned a $15,000 “marketing makeover” from Blanket Marketing Group.
April Javist, the library foundation’s executive director, focused her three-minute pitch on the organization’s summer reading program.
“In the seven years that the foundation has been supporting summer reading, we’ve seen the program grow from 1,500 kids finishing to 15,000 finishing,” she told the audience and panel of judges. “They read five age-appropriate books. That’s what it takes to hold onto your skills. The cost to catch a child up who hasn’t read in one summer is about $1500. If we do the math on that, we have $1500 times 15,000 kids – that’s $22 million in economic value in a single summer.”
Fast Pitch is a coaching and training program that helps nonprofit leaders develop compelling three-minute “elevator pitches” for their organizations. Each pitch ends with “the ask,” a specific request for assistance. That ask changes over time, but the elevator pitch is meant to provide a big picture of the organization’s mission.
Javist said that when she met her two coaches, both around age 30, she was a bit skeptical whether the two young guys – Micromidas founder and CEO John Bissell and Tim Harris of Insight Public Relations – had enough experience to help her improve. She readily acknowledged that her first thoughts could not have been more wrong.
“They helped to unify my board around a single message,” Javist said. “They also helped us all figure out who we are as a foundation. We’re not the library. We’re not a government agency. We’re a nonprofit funded by private donations, and we have a will. ... Our will is for kids to read.”
Wednesday’s event gave more than $80,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to local nonprofits. Other winners include:
▪ Sacramento Theatre Company: $1,000 Network Activator Award
▪ Fresher Sacramento: $1,500 Coaches Award
▪ Powerhouse Science Center: $3,000 Audience Award, $5,000 worth of video content services from KJ Productions and $17,500 in consulting services from OE Consulting Group, which helps organizations increase their effectiveness