/ Application Guide

The “Soshent Application" by CSI

Instructions for Completing the “Soshent Application for Philanthropitch

You can complete your application for Philanthropitch’s by completing the “Soshent Application” at or by clicking HERE .
Applications are due by no later than Friday, May 15 2015 at 11:59 pm EST.

CSI, SVP and Dexterity Ventures and its partners will be administering this pitch competition and collecting personal and organization information on behalf of Philanthropitch for the sole purpose of evaluating their applications. By submitting your application, you agree that your personal and organization information shall be shared with CSI current and future partners. You can access SVP's privacy policy here which is the process with which Philanthropitch collects personal information:

Philanthropitch is using the “Soshent” Application developed by CSI to assess whether you meet its eligibility requirements. The “Soshent” Application" is an "all in one" application form created by the Centre for Social Innovation with input from various partners such as Philanthropitch. It will connect entrepreneurs to over 25 financiers, funders, accelerators and educators by only having to complete one application. Applicants will have potential access to funding sources such as the Catapult Microloans, YSIF, CII, Impact 8, Social Venture Zone, CSI and many more by only having to complete one application. Philanthropitch is the first organization to use the Soshent Application.

It was created by CSI to be: (i) an “all in one” application for various funders and partners so that applicants only need to fill out one application that will accessed by various funders and partners; and (ii) to connect social enterprises with the money, smarts, tools, space and people that they need to succeed and attract funding by more than one organization.

The “Soshent” Application was designed taking into consideration the questions most commonly asked by funders and capacity builders and bringing in globally accepted standards such as IRIS metrics for social impact while also allowing questions that can be more specific to the social impact areas in a particular geographic region.

/ Section 1 - Consent to Share Data & Initial Screening

The information collected in this section is used to assess the applicant’s eligibility for Philanthropitch - and in the future, the information will be used to assess eligibility for support from other partners of the CSI Soshent application.

Most importantly for the Philanthropitch review committee, through this section we would like to know how receiving funding, mentorship and in-kind support, including a one-year membership to CSI will transform your work.

When you answer the questions, “When do you plan to start your enterprise or project?” and “Which of the following most closely describes where you are at with your project or enterprise?”, please be sure to refer to the stage of your proposed venture which you are seeking funding for as opposed to your organization in its entirety.

You are NOT required to be a member of any of the listed partner organizations in order to be eligible for Philanthropitch. You also may select any/all types of support your organization would be interested in accessing now or in the future - but please be aware that Philanthropitch is only offering the prizes as outlined in the Philanthropitch call letter.

/ Section 2 - About the Individual

The information collected in this section shall be used to assess the eligibility of a venture for funding from Philanthropitch or other partner organizations of the Soshent application. The lead applicant is not required to answer any demographic questions that they would prefer not to answer. They may select “I prefer not to disclose” in the multiple choice question. While applicants are encouraged to self-identify, it is not mandatory for the purposes of Philanthropitch.

/Section 3 - About the Organization

This section of the application helps the Philanthropitch reviewers assess your organization’s eligibility and overall organizational capacity for this funding.

Philanthropitch and its partners believe it is important to focus on funding local impact. As a result, all applicants must be proposing a venture that will be operating in the Greater Toronto Area and thus having an impact on one of the Vital Signs in the GTA. It is permitted for an organization that is headquartered outside of the GTA and currently running programs outside of the GTA to propose a new venture that will operate and have an impact within the GTA.

/ Section 4 - Details About Your Venture

This section of the application is very important as it provides the Philanthropitch review committee with information regarding your “venture” defined as the business model of the program, project or product that you are seeking support for. Specific information should be shared about either the need to expand a current program/offering or launch a new program/offering that will help you achieve greater societal impact in one of the areas related to the Vital Signs.

An important question in this section is “What direct social, environmental, cultural outcomes will you have? Please explain.” Part of the minimum eligibility criteria for Philanthropitch is an organization’s impact in one of the Toronto Foundation's Toronto's Vital Signs® Report issue areas. The The Toronto Vital Signs® Report is an annual assessment of important challenges facing Toronto. You can access a copy of the Vital Signs® report HERE. When responding to this question, please ensure you have clearly identified which of the of Toronto's Foundation's Vital Sign® issue area(s) your proposed venture will address and how it will have an impact on this sector. This question is extremely important and mandatory for the minimum eligibility requirements for Philanthropitch.

After you respond to this section, ask yourself the following questions:
Have I made it clear to the assessors...
● What new innovation my proposed project/venture is applying to one of the "Vital Signs®" impact areas as identified in the Toronto's Vital Signs® Report
● What the value proposition for my customers or clients is, as it relates to the venture I am seeking funds for?
● Have I clearly explained what aspect of my venture or program is transformative and using breakthrough innovation (and not what is innovative about the organization as a whole)? For example, is some element of my approach developed in the last three years? Or am I applying a tested approach to a new, unique context?
● Is it clear that this innovation improves impact over the current methods and strategies?
● Have I identified what other organizations or companies are competitors to my solution?
● Have I provided an explanation for how my innovation for the project is different from other organizations and companies in this space (ie. my competitors)?

/ Section 5 - Market

This section of the application will explain to the Philanthropitch review committee what the market for your proposed venture (product/service/program or offering) is. You should ensure it is clear who your customers and beneficiaries are, how you reach them and the types of transactions that take place between your organization and these groups.

Ensure that you are describing the market for your proposed venture (the program, product or service that you are seeking funding to either expand or initiate) and that it relates logically to the business model you described in section 4 of the application.

/ Section 6 - Team & Partners

This section of the application will demonstrate to the Philanthropitch review committee why your team is the right one to create the impact and execute on the vision you have described in the previous sections. We want to see that you not only have the skills, knowledge and experience to get it done, but that you also have the ability to bring in the right partners and advisors.
Once you have completed this section, be sure you have communicated your ideas effectively by asking yourself the following questions:
● Have I clearly shown the breadth and depth of my team including our leadership capacity?
● Are there major gaps or skills needed to complete my team? Have I illustrated how we will fill that gap?
● Have I demonstrated why I am passionate about this venture, and why my team is uniquely poised to succeed?
● Have I shown why my team is the right one to lead this venture?

/ Section 7 - Financials

This section of the application will provide the Philanthropitch review committee with a better understanding of your organization’s financial health. This section of the application refers to your organization as a whole - not just your proposed venture (program, project or offering).

The specific questions cover the information that reviewers of grants and loans most commonly seek while reviewing financial statements. Sharing your budgets, cash flows and financial statements will allow the committee to have a more detailed package to review.

/ Section 8 - Growth Plan

This section of the application will provide the Philanthropitch review committee with information regarding your strategy for growth. Specifically, it will help us to understand your objectives and goals regarding your proposed venture as well as your plan to achieve these goals and your budget to get there.

In this section, make it clear to the review committee how the prize money would be used within the context of the project plan and budget. We also want to understand the methods your organization will use to evaluate its progress towards the goals and objectives of your proposed venture. We want to know that your organization has methods or approaches to ensure you are meeting project goals as you have articulated them in order to receive this funding.

Once you have completed this section, you should review your answers and ask yourself:
Have I made it clear to the Philanthropitch review committee:
● That the Philanthropitch prize funding would not be used to finance anything described in the “We will not fund” portion of the minimum Philanthropitch eligibility criteria? (ie. not used to pay an existing debt, or pay an existing employee to work on existing programs)
● Is there is a gap between the amount of startup costs/funding required to launch or grow my proposed venture and the Philanthropitch prize funding amount? Have I made it clear how we will finance this gap?
● Have I described the major milestones for the project and a method for assessing my progress toward these milestones?

/ Document Checklist

Please ensure you include the following documents by uploading them under Section 4 into “Uploads” in the Soshent Application (as applicable):
● Articles of Incorporation (required)
● Bylaws (optional)
● Board of Directors & Organizational Structure with a list of current leadership team/board members with the date of the start of their current term and when they first joined the organization / board and an organizational chart (required)
● Proof of Partnerships (optional)
● Budget - current fiscal year (required)
● Cash Flow (required)
● Income Statements and/or Financial Statements (required)
● Current strategic-plan and/or any needs assessment reports completed in the last two years (optional)