June 24, 2013; Lincoln Journal Star

Ignite Lincoln, a speaking series in Lincoln, Nebraska that’s similar to the Pecha Kucha movement that sprung up in the early 2000s, has posed an interesting challenge to Lincoln nonprofits. Organizations are competing for a $5,000 grant through social media and a very short elevator pitch.

Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations located in or serving the citizens of Lincoln have been asked to apply for the grant by composing a tweet that includes the hashtag #IgniteLNK and the word, “nominate.” Groups can link to a website, video, or photograph. Five finalists will be chosen, based on creativity, clarity, and the degree to which they exemplify igniting the passion of Lincoln. These five finalists will have exactly 140 seconds to convince the audience—who will vote via text message—that their nonprofit should win (see this page for details).

In an attention-deprived media environment, Ignite Lincoln is likely onto something. Succinct messaging is important. However, this level of conciseness is challenging for most nonprofits. There are four days left in the competition, but the few entries that are already up on Twitter suggest how challenging this contest is. Most link to videos that are about 10 minutes long.

Could your nonprofit make its case in 140 characters or 140 seconds? Let us hear some of your best short pitches! And while you are thinking this way, why not join NPQ’s Twitter contest, where you’ll describe your mission in five powerful words?—Michelle Shumate