Encore Fast Pitch FAQs

What is the $10,000 Encore Fast Pitch?

The Encore Fast Pitch is a high-energy, rapid-fire pitch competition that awards $10,000 to organizations actively working on innovations to dramatically advance the encore movement. The 2016 competition took place in San Francisco on Thursday, February 11, 2016. Dates for the 2017 competition will be announced, and applications opened, in late 2016.

How does the Encore Fast Pitch work?

Encore Fast Pitch applicants submit an online application describing their organization’s encore innovation. Based on a careful review of the materials submitted, program staff select 10 semifinalists to participate in a live, digital audition via Skype or Google Hangout. A team of staff and external reviewers then select five to advance to the finalist stage, where they receive additional coaching to prepare a three-minute “fast pitch” on their organization’s innovation to a live audience of encore leaders, including people from the nonprofit, business, academic and philanthropic worlds and members of the media. A panel of expert judges provides individual feedback after each pitch. When all pitches have been heard, the judges award $5,000 in prize money, and an additional $5,000 is awarded by real-time audience vote. One organization can win both prizes, although in 2016, two organizations were recognized as winners.

Who are the Fast Pitch Judges?

In 2016, the Encore Fast Pitch expert judges included Kriss Deiglmeier, CEO, Tides; Phil Pizzo, Founding Director, Stanford Distinguished Career Institute, and Former Dean, Stanford School of Medicine and Katherina Rosqueta, Founding Executive Director, Center for High Impact Philanthropy.

Who are the Fast Pitch coaches?

Volunteer coaches with communications expertise are crucial to the Encore Fast Pitch process. Each finalist is paired with a coach who helps the finalist prepare for the fast pitch competition. If you have a background in marketing/communications, or extensive experience delivering pitches, and would like to volunteer to be a fast pitch coach, please complete this interest form.

What makes a good fast pitch?

Watch this fast pitch training webinar, led by nationally recognized communications expert and storytelling guru, Andy Goodman, for the five essential components of a good “fast pitch” and sample pitches from our friends at SVP.

What type of encore innovations are eligible for the Encore Fast Pitch?

We are particularly interested in work that increases institutional capacity to engage encore talent in solving social problems. Here’s what we looked for during the 2016 competition:

  • More than an idea – Early stage, but with some activity in place or at a minimum a solid business plan that shows potential for transformative innovation over time.
  • Not too established – Priority given to work that is less than three years old.
  • More than just one person – Solid buy-in from a broad base of supporters, e.g., commitment of a host agency, early stage funders, strategic partnerships, etc.
  • Growth potential – Potential for sustainability, with a solid plan for growth and impact measurement.
  • Something new – Going beyond “business as usual” to catalyze the encore movement: New models, disruptive thinking, creative approaches and surprising solutions that leverage encore talent within an organization or increase broad engagement of encore talent for the greater good.

Who should apply?

The Encore Fast Pitch is a competition for organizations, not individuals. Eligible entities include (but are not limited to) early-stage or established nonprofits, social ventures, hybrids, start-ups, for-profit corporations, government agencies and universities. There are no applicant age or residency requirements.

What is the monetary award and how can it be used?

The monetary award for the Encore Fast Pitch is $10,000. with $5,000 conferred by a panel of judges and $5,000 by audience vote. If the panel of judges and the audience were to select the same finalist, that organization would receive the full $10,000 cash award. All cash awards must be distributed to organizations, not to individuals.

Are there other benefits to competing in the Encore Fast Pitch besides the monetary award?

All finalists receive:

  • Complimentary registration to the Fast Pitch event for the presenter.
  • Expert one-on-one coaching from communications expert Andy Goodman on how to hone a good pitch, as well as additional support from a volunteer coach.
  • The opportunity to present your organization’s work to encore movement leaders, including potential funders and members of the media.
  • Broad exposure through social media coverage of the Fast Pitch competition.
  • Direct feedback on your program model from innovation experts and encore leaders, strengthening your nonprofit or social enterprise.

How do you apply?


Please sign up for the Encore.org mailing list to be notified about future competitions.