June 11, 2010; Source: Dallas News | Seven Dallas-area nonprofits and some 200 potential benefactors took part in the fund-raising world’s equivalent of speed dating last week. Each of the seven groups had 10 minutes to pitch foundation representatives, corporate philanthropists, and other givers at Dallas Social Venture Partners’ (DSP) social innovation forum.

This was the first time the Texas group tried this approach—something that’s more typical in the business world where entrepreneurs often have just a few minutes to pitch potential backers on investing in them or their ideas. According to DSVP president Stacy Caldwell, other groups in Los Angeles and Dallas have held successful funding meet-ups. She added that the seven groups invited to present, culled from 60 applicants, didn’t necessarily expect to close the deal on the basis of a single pitch. Instead, she said, “The presentations are a first step in connecting with like-minded funders.”

Among grantmakers taking part, Patricia Alexander, chief grants and research officer for Dallas Women’s Foundation, said she thought the format worked well. “I liked the length of time, the focus on individual case studies, what their mission was and specifically what they wanted money for,” she told the Dallas News.

Over the course of the event, fund-seekers used their 10 minutes to make pitches for funders to invest nearly $800,000 in a program to serve homeless children, to create learning gardens that would teach children more nutritious eating habits, and plans to create a start-up business for job-training, among others.—Bruce Trachtenberg