Submit Your Ideas for SOCAP Open

SOCAP May 13, 2020

How can you bring your content idea to SOCAP Virtual? Pitch it to us! SOCAP Open has officially launched for the 2020 SOCAP Virtual: Global Impact Summit. This is the first time SOCAP will hold the flagship convening online. Time to get creative! Wow us with your ideas of new ways to connect and learn with each other across the globe. 
SOCAP Virtual will be focused on a number of core themes. While we do seek supporting content within those themes, we are also very interested in having SOCAP Open help us discover content that we would not have found otherwise. We want SOCAP Virtual: Global Impact Summit to be a representation of what our community is witnessing globally, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome any and all ideas.
SOCAP is the largest and most diverse community dedicated to impact investing and social entrepreneurship in the world. Our annual flagship event attracts investors, entrepreneurs, foundation and nonprofit leaders, government officials, business leaders, academics, and others who are passionate about unlocking the power of global markets to solve social and environmental challenges.
If you have a great idea for a session, workshop, or other interactive format and are prepared to bring that idea to life this fall online during  SOCAP Virtual October 19-23, the time to share your idea is now. If you are a regular submitter to SOCAP Open, it is time to shake things up with new session types for an online setting. If you are new to SOCAP Open, welcome! 
Below are tips for creating great sessions gleaned from submitters over the years.
*Pro-tip:  Interactive sessions will be given preference over a standard panel this year.  Break out of the panel mold. The sky is truly the limit. Radical collaboration is the new normal. Apply this lens to your submission. Gender and racial inclusion are required. We can’t wait to see what the community brings! 

What is SOCAP Open?

SOCAP Open is our platform for sourcing conference content ideas directly from our community and the wider impact space. This is our eighth year of sourcing content through SOCAP Open. Last year we received 394 pitches and of those, we selected a record-breaking 80 sessions for production at SOCAP19! 

How to Write Your Session Proposal (Our Most Important Advice)

Creating SOCAP Open content for a virtual setting is new. Time to reimage what a “session” looks like online for a global audience of thousands. Choose one of our interactive formats including a debate, fireside chats, workshops or suggest your own structure. The sky is truly the limit. Radical collaboration is the new normal. Apply this lens to your submission. We can’t wait to see what the community brings! 
We are often asked to offer advice on how to craft a SOCAP Open proposal with the highest possible chance of being chosen for production.
Here are our top 10 tips:

Compelling ideas

Compelling ideas are ones that you are uniquely qualified to bring to the table, that share a timely insight, conversation, or challenge with a broader audience. Use this as an opportunity to reach out to potential collaborators and speakers in your network and focus your energy on submitting one excellent idea. Put yourself in the position of someone browsing session ideas and make sure that your description stands out for the value that it will provide to attendees if selected. These are the sessions that will get the attention and support of SOCAP Open voters.
Here are a few other tips for how to plan for and write a successful SOCAP Open proposal.

Write for your audience.

Write your description directly to the people you think will be most interested in your topic – is it directed at entrepreneurs, investors, all stakeholders in a particular geography or issue area? See the SOCAP Virtual Themes to give you ideas for your topic. 
This is the first time we are holding SOCAP flagship conference in a virtual setting. We are planning for 10,000 attendees.  We are not yet sure how many attendees will join per session. Please indicate if your session is meant for a smaller audience between 40-70 people.  We anticipate the average session attendance will be between 70-150 people so think about who you are trying to attract and design for.
Assume at least a basic level of familiarity with impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and social capital markets. Most of our audience are active practitioners in the social capital markets so they are unlikely to need a session explaining how to do well by doing good, for example. Describe what they will learn or take away from your session. Session proposals that are too broad or general are less successful than sessions that have a clear topic or headline.
You can share bleeding-edge ideas or research, offer a unique insight, explore a new solution to a complex problem, reveal a new opportunity, issue a call to action, or dissect failures and systemic challenges. Just make sure the audience will understand the appeal of your session from your pitch.

Diversity is a requirement, not an option.

All panels MUST be inclusive in terms of gender and race. No exceptions.
The social capital market is diverse and your panel should be as well. As you consider who to pitch for your panel idea, please consider the voices you are featuring in your session. Aim for diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, culture, expertise, age, and opinion.

Your title is the most important part of your pitch.

Your title may be the only thing some SOCAP Open voters will read. Catch readers’ interest immediately with a great title. Consider how to make your content title both concise and compelling.

Don’t use jargon or assume voters will be familiar with your topic.

Many of the people you want to vote for your SOCAP Open session will not have the same level of understanding of your topic as you. Avoid industry jargon and use clear language that describes your session’s content and value. Be only as detailed as you need to be.

Avoid overly self-promotional content.

We strongly advise against purely advertorial content. If your panel or workshop idea features a product or service, ask yourself if the purpose of your content is only to promote that product or service. Sessions around the launch of a recent study or report, and workshops that give participants a sample framework or tools that may be part of a broader service.

Suggest a moderator for your Panel or Debate.

Interactive sessions will be given preference over a standard panel. If you are pitching a panel, we urge you to name a moderator and only three other speakers. The moderator should be someone with an in-depth understanding of the topic and its relationship to each panelist. Moderators are the anchor of any successful panel session. Choose someone who can keep the conversation focused and interesting. Who in your network would be able to fulfill that role and attract attendees to your session? Propose moderators that you already have a relationship with and you know are very likely to accept your invitation to participate.

Promote your session idea online.

Create campaigns (email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other social media channels) to promote your SOCAP Open session. Getting out the vote from your networks demonstrates you have the motivation and organizational ability to help produce a successful session.
Note: votes are not the only metric we use to determine which sessions will be chosen for presentation at SOCAP, and a high vote count does not guarantee you’ll be invited to produce your session.

Turn comments into conversations.

You will receive an email notification when voters comment on your idea. We highly encourage you to monitor these and engage with the people who leave responses to your session idea. Voters may ask follow up questions or make valuable suggestions. The conversation you want to stimulate at the conference can start right away. This is critical for our virtual format. 

Watch sessions from past SOCAP conferences or listen to our podcast.

Visit our SOCAPmarkets YouTube Channel or listen to our Money + Meaning podcast to get a better idea of our conference content and the interests of our community. Especially if you have never attended SOCAP before, it can be a good idea to watch past sessions (and read the descriptions) before drafting your proposal.


Next step, Share Your Idea!

If you are a member of the community that is interested in leading a conversation at SOCAP Virtual, we encourage you to send ina proposal. If you have submitted in the past, please consider submitting a new idea this year under a new virtual format. Get creative. We are excited to read your 2020 SOCAP Virtual: Global Impact Summit content proposals!
The deadline to submit your SOCAP Open proposal is June 16, 2020!

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