SIFP 2012 Judging Rubric

The criteria below reflect the rubric by which judges will score pitches and one-pagers for all rounds of SIFP 2012. They are the same criteria by which our screeners will screen applications, and by which mentors and coaches will provide feedback.

In rounds that involve presentations, the presentation will be the primary source for scoring. One-pagers will be used as a reference for judges.

All application screeners, mentors, coaches, volunteer consultants, and judges should familiarize themselves with the rubric and work towards helping teams score high on all criteria.



 1. Societal Impact

    • The first and most important rating of every organization is around its impact – every organization or plan must have a measurable means of impactinng clearly-articulated social issues.
    • Is it clear what the organization accomplishes, and how it makes a difference? Have the leaders described how outcomes have changed (or will) for their target population as a result of their programs?
    • What scale of impact, with quantifiable measures, does or could this organization produce?

1 = Unclear or limited impact; 3 = Believable impact at modest scale; 5 = Potential for exceptional impact to a needful population in at least the Puget Sound region.

2. Innovation

    • SIFP is all about shining a light on the most innovative new ideas for social impact in the Puget Sound region. Innovation means different things to different people, and comes in all shapes and sizes. For this measure, the perspective of each judge will weigh heavily on the rating.
    • How innovative and unique is the applicant's approach? Is it a breakthrough new product, service, delivery or structure? Improvement over current methods? Are they addressing an emerging social issue or an old issue in a creative way? Will the innovation stand the test of time?
    • Does their innovation distinguish them from other organizations and contribute significantly to their projected impact?

1 = Interesting but not fundamentally or differentially innovative; 3 = Innovates beyond expectations of established organizations in a linear way; 5 = Breakthrough innovation that differentiates from others in both what impact is achieved and how it is achieved.

3. Sustainability

    • There are a variety of environmental, economic, and societal definitions of sustainability. In the case of SIFP, we are looking to evaluate the ability of the program or venture to carry out its mission and achieve projected impact(s) on a continuous basis over time, without exhausting available resources, financial or otherwise. In the simplest sense, a soup kitchen that purchases food with donor money and distributes to those in need is not sustainable without continuing donor funding. An organization that sources raw ingredients at a low cost, prepares food that can be both sold for a profit and can be distributed to those in need, all on a break-even-or-better basis over time is sustainable.

1 = Not sustainable in medium or long term without continued injection of external capital or resources; 3 = Believable model for mid- to long-term sustainability; 5 = Innovative model for delivering impact with short to mid-term sustainability.

4. Leadership & Team

    • Early stage investors, both for-profit and non-profit, must bet heavily on the leadership and core team of an organization (or program). Many good concepts fail due to poor leadership; many flawed concepts are corrected and led to success by great leaders.
    • Has the individual demonstrated strong leadership in the past? Does he/she have a leadership presence that others will want to follow? Has s/he assembled a strong team of advisors, contributors, and/or partners? Are they bold and convicted in their presentation of ideas?

1 = Unclear leadership or lack of demonstrated traits, experience, etc.; 3 = Solid leadership that appears able to grow with the organization and lead to success; 5 = Exceptional leadership and strong team - demonstrated past leadership and/or passion and conviction in new program/venture context.


5. Presentation and Other Strengths [Not rated during application screening]

    • The Social Innovation Fast Pitch depends on what innovators can present in a short pitch. Content and strategy are dependent on good presentation to rally staff, to draw supporters, to impress donors and investors, and to have strong impact. Strong pitches will tell a story that connects emotionally as well as rationally, and be presented with energy and conviction.
    • There are any number of additional criteria that could be used to assess an enterprise, yet every venture is unique. This item includes scoring for criteria not mentioned above such as market understanding, collaboration and partnerships, appropriate use of technology, competitive analysis, potential for global relevance, etc. Presentations should make good tradeoffs regarding what can be presented in the allotted time. 

1 = Weak presentation with weak content; 3 = Solid presentation with good coverage of key topics beyond criteria above; 5 = Exceptional presentation with coherent story that covers key topics beyond criteria above, and that leaves a strong impression.


Scoring Tips for Application Screeners

    • Please skim all the applications first so you get a sense of the overall quality of the applications and a basis for calibrating the entire group with your experience and expectations.
    • While we are asking you to rate organizations on an absolute basis (not relative to one another), the absolute score (1-5) you give is not as important as the consistency of your scores across the group.  In other words, a “2” that you might give early on should mean the same to you as a “2” you give later. Some screeners will be easier or tougher than others, and that’s OK.
    • You might be very impressed early on and want to rate the first couple very high – but these are all impressive organizations.  Try not to give an advantage or disadvantage to the first or last few applications you score.  Remember that a good, solid score is a 3.  Save the 4s and 5s for truly impressive organizations or plans.  
    • Once all applications are reviewed, please go back and re-read the first 2-3 that you rated to see if you want to adjust their scores up or down in relation to all the others that you subsequently read.