If you have ever worked in a social service organization or non-profit, you are likely aware of how important fundraising can be. In fact, oftentimes, there are a lot of smaller projects that never get started because the funds are just not there to make them become a reality.
Recently, however, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, entrepreneur Mark Sparks and his team have created a venture capital style competition that puts some fun and some spirit into the process of trying to add social services for the community.
The money is there
One of the nice things about the competition is that money is already set aside to reward the winners. If you have a compelling project that will make a difference, presenting it well can indeed provide you with the financial opportunity to make it happen. Learn more about Marc Sparks: https://angel.co/marcsparks3 and http://whoismarcsparks.com/
There is more than one deadline
The project is known as SparkTank and the competition that it has created for 2016 will be segmented into three rounds. Each round will have a winner that ends up taking home a check. So if you are a non-profit that isn’t ready to compete to get funding for your idea, you can work on it over the Summer and apply later this year in a different round.
How do contestants compete?
Although it would be easy to get caught up in a much more elaborate process, the non-profits that want to enter SparkTank’s competition merely need to submit an application that outlines what it is that they would like to accomplish. After the application has been reviewed, the board makes call-backs and then asks for a 10 minute presentation, followed by 10 minutes of question and answer time so that they can understand your idea completely.
What types of social services are eligible?
As the SparksTankDFW.com website details, contestants need to be a non-profit that has been in business for two years or more. Beyond that, while it is possible to compete as a faith-based charity, politically affiliated non-profits are not allowed. In general, serving people, animals, or the arts are all areas where the bulk of the contestants come from.
One recent finalist envisioned a food truck that would serve homeless people. Not only would they provide meals to those that needed them in the community, they would also try and take people where they needed to go if they were lacking transportation. A truly mobile outreach service that was recognized as being one of three finalists.
Although Marc Sparks has been successful so far, it is hard to know how much they plan to expand. Mark Sparks has a track record of growing businesses and community service throughout Texas. It wouldn’t be surprising, then to see the concept spread to other cities in the coming years.