In 2011, during the infancy of our organization, Feeding Matters had an incredible opportunity to participate in Social Venture Partners (SVP) Arizona’s inaugural Fast Pitch competition. At the time, we were a staff of three, had recently moved into our donated office space, and were just beginning to make a name for ourselves in the community. I always knew the importance of perfecting my pitch but at the time I didn’t realize how impactful this two month communication workshop would be in the growth of the organization.
My involvement with Feeding Matters is not only a professional one, but it is also a personal one. I joined the organization as Executive Director in 2007 because my daughter has struggled with feeding since birth. It is a matter that is close to my heart and a mission that I wanted to help gain momentum – Fast Pitch helped me to do just that.
By working with my coaches I was able to craft communication that balanced my personal family story with the purpose of the organization. This led us to winning two awards that night, one of which was the SVP Investee award which included a multi-year grant. It is a moment that I am proud of and will always remember. Even the connections made throughout the program were just as valuable as the presentation skills. The 8 week training sessions provided a great opportunity to learn about other nonprofits, their missions, and how their efforts were bettering the community. In addition, the community leaders, mentor coaches, and SVP partners allowed us access to thought leaders who helped us strengthen the capacity of the organization.
Three years later, we are now a staff of seven, moving into our own office, and are quickly building up international recognition. To this day, I am still weaving portions of my winning speech into my presentations and when I am sharing the mission of Feeding Matters. My staff even watches the video of my speech when going through training. Fast Pitch is so much more than 180 seconds. It is an innovative program and an experience that is invaluable. I am incredibly grateful for the relationships made through Fast Pitch and SVP’s pool of talented partners.
Chris Linn is the Executive Director of Feeding Matters, an SVP Investee.