Cultivate Labs Knowledge Base

3 Ways to Run a "Pitch Event" Before Crowdfunding

A “Pitch Event” as part of an idea campaign is an opportunity for participants to collaborate on each other’s ideas – outside of the applications – and survey the investment opportunities prior to the start of crowdfunding. People who volunteer to “pitch” have an outlet to sell their idea’s value and raise funding, while getting input and feedback from peers in the form of Q&A. As audience members, people can listen to the ideas being proposed and begin to decide which ones they want to support.

The audience for this event will be:

  • Presenters pitching ideas
  • Mentors/champions
  • People interested in getting involved with an idea/project
  • Observers – people who will eventually “fund” ideas

Option 1: Face-to-face meeting (one or multiple sites) and webinar combination

Description:

A 1.5- to 2-hour “pitch” and networking event hosted onsite.

If the pitch event is hosted at only one site... 

  • We recommend recording the session so anyone who missed it can view it at their convenience. 
  • But your audience is spread out across many locations: Broadcast the event live via webinar to the other locations, where you would still book room(s), invite participants, and show the session on a screen. Participants at other locations can call in, ask questions, and present pitches to the full group over the webinar.

If multiple pitch events are hosted across sites…

  • Record each event and post to the your intranet page, so participants across sites can view each of the webinars as they choose. 

Format details:

This format would allow for 12-18 people to “pitch” their idea for 5 minutes each. The 5 minutes would include 1.5 minutes to present, 2-3 minutes to answer questions from the audience, and time to transition. Networking should also be encouraged after pitches are complete to allow participants to engage with the presenters.

Sample agenda:

  • Kickoff by leadership (5 minutes)
  • Idea pitches and Q&A (5 minutes per presenter)
  • Present “thank you” to presenters (2 minutes)
  • Next steps & networking time (25 minutes)

Logistics:

  • Room and equipment/supplies:
    • A large conference room that holds at least 70% of invited participants.
    • The room(s) should have projection and video/telephone conferencing capability.
    • A guided ppt presentation that includes ONE slide for each presenter, showing the name of each idea and presenter’s contact information.
    • Chart paper, sticky notes, and markers for the networking time, so that each idea presenter can have their own chart paper where participants leave comments for their idea.
    • A small “thank you” to present to speakers (e.g., can be company-branded merchandise)
    • Food, drink and music - while this depends on your company’s culture, this is strongly encouraged as an incentive for in-person attendance and networking.
  • Tasks/roles:
    • Site coordinator – Responsible for booking room and executing logistics (e.g., collecting supplies, soliciting presenters, building the presentation deck with the ideas and presenter names, overseeing webinar, etc).
    • Leader – should be available to kickoff the session, talking about why the program is important and its objectives.
    • MC/facilitator – Kickoff/wrap-up, announce presenters, indicate when time is up.
    • Moderator – Manage the conference line, and work with the facilitator as needed (may also serve as time keeper).
    • Time keeper – Responsible for timing each presentation and Q&A and signaling to the MC. Announces whether there’s time for a second or third question.
    • Mic runner – If there is a big room, have a microphones and a runner on hand to be in the audience for questions.

Option 2: Virtual conference call

Description:

A “pitch event" as a 1-hour general conference call for all participants.

Format details:

The format and agenda for the conference call would be the same as for Option 1, with time for about 12 pitches without the networking. If there are enough volunteers to pitch ideas, the conference call length can be extended to 1.5 hours. There should be screenshare capability to broadcast the guided powerpoint with each presenter’s name and idea name. In the conferencing platform, there should also be chat, and ideally an upvote feature, so that a moderator can collect questions from the audience and select which ones to ask the speaker during each pitch. The call should be recorded and posted to an intranet page for participants to access as needed. 

Logistics:

  • Room and equipment/supplies:
    • While most participants can take the call on their own, it would be preferable to hold conference rooms at each site where participants can join the call and listen together.
    • A guided ppt presentation that includes a slide for each presenter, showing the name of each idea and presenter’s contact information.
  • Tasks/roles:
    • Leader – should be available to kickoff the conference call, talking about why the program is important and its objectives.
    • Facilitator – Kickoff/wrap-up, announce presenters, indicate when time is up.
    • Moderator – Manage the conference line, track questions over the webinar, and feed them to the facilitator (may also serve as time keeper).
    • Time keeper – Responsible for timing each presentation and Q&A and signaling to the facilitator. Announces whether there’s time for a second or third question.

Option 3: Video channel

Description:

One- to two-minute “pitch” videos in a Q&A format, with participants answering 2-3 questions posed by an “interviewer.”

Format details:

Hold a small conference room (for a day or two) at each location with a camera and two chairs for participants to create their pitch videos. Each participant should answer the same 2-3 questions that they are asked by another colleague, who can also help them record the video. Participants will be responsible for transferring and saving the video to their computers and uploading it to the hosted site. Videos would be hosted on internal resources.

To kickoff the participant pitch videos, a leader should record a quick Q&A video to discuss why the program is important, what you hope to achieve from it, etc.

Logistics:

  • Room and equipment/supplies:
    • A conference room set up with two chairs, a video recorder, and instructions for the pitches.
  • Tasks/roles:
    • Leader – should be available to record the video kickoff about the program.
    • A colleague – who can record the video and ask the questions.
    • Site coordinator – to setup rooms and video recorder.
    • IT/Video hosting – coordinate hosting of the videos online. 


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