Tips to Write a Great Submission
Please read our guidance for SOCAP22 Open submissions before adding your submission to the SOCAP Open portal. New session guidelines and requirements for SOCAP22 are below.
Community is a big part of SOCAP. You are an important part of this continuously growing community of global changemakers unlocking the power of markets for impact for all people. We are united around a shared passion for shaping the possible on a global scale.
What Is SOCAP Open?
Each year the SOCAP Open process helps us Identify the most innovative new ideas from this global community — and beyond. Over the past 10 years, many of the most compelling sessions at SOCAP have come directly from this process. Depending on the year, SOCAP Open submissions can make up to half of the content presented at the flagship convening.
During the Open application process, we encourage everyone in the SOCAP community to upload proposals for fireside chats, workshops, pitch sessions, debates, networking, podcasts, and other interactive formats.
The submission involves an easy-to-follow form that will walk you step by step through the entry process.
Whether you are new to the SOCAP community or an OG, we want to hear from you!
Designing Your Session
How we’re designing SOCAP22: Fewer concurrent sessions and more interactive content. We’ll have big conversations causing us to ask different questions and tactical conversations that open space for the wisdom of the crowd. With that in mind, below are guiding questions and requirements for SOCAP Open submissions.
All sessions MUST be inclusive in terms of gender and race. No exceptions.
A note about panels: We encourage you to think outside the panel. Very few, if any, traditional panels will be brought in through SOCAP Open this year to make room for interaction, dialogue, brainstorming, and solution sourcing. If you have a great panel in mind, consider how you can turn it into a more interactive format. If your session is selected the team is here to help brainstorm interactivity with you and your collaborators.
When you submit to SOCAP Open, the SOCAP content team wants to hear:
How are you moving beyond silos to recognize connections in new ways?
How can we work in more coordinated ways with more people?
What different operating modalities need to be accepted and embraced?
How are you designing for more positive outcomes for all people and the planet?
Get unboxed. Get interactive. Unleash your creativity.
How to Write Your Session Proposal
Compelling ideas are ones that you are uniquely qualified to bring to the table, that share a timely insight, conversation, or thorny challenge with a broader audience. Use this as an opportunity to reach out to potential collaborators 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 concise 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 during the community voting period.
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, and all stakeholders in a particular geography or issue area? You’ll be able to tag your audience, aligned SDG goals, related SOCAP22 themes, and session format as part of your entry.
Design your session for a 2.0-level conversation and interaction. 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 impact economy. 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 objective.
Widen the solution space. Ensure a range of voices and solutions.
All sessions MUST be inclusive in terms of gender and race. No exceptions.
The impact economy is diverse and your session should be as well. As you consider the voices you are featuring aim for inclusivity in terms of gender, race, ability, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, expertise, age, and opinion. We want to ensure representative voice of those closest to the issues and solutions are heard.
Radical collaboration. To achieve systems change, we must work together.
We know that this year, in particular, people are eager to connect, share ideas, and brainstorm together. Submissions need to focus on talking with those in the room, we know that at SOCAP there is much wisdom in the crowd. How will your content ignite conversation around your topic of expertise? What insights and/or challenges can you share with a broader audience as a springboard to problem-solving and creating solution possibilities? What is the radical question you have to pose to attendees? How will you present your idea in a different way that opens the door for a dialectic?
Centering justice. Justice, the prism to refract all our ideas and activities.
We want to hear how your content is anchored in justice. How can systems: political, capital, and cultural treat all people with dignity and honor the intrinsic value of nature? How can more shared abundance be created and designed for? What needs to be named and owned in your work to move toward repair and equity? How can we raise the floor and not just the ceiling? How can we make justice normal?
Sustained action. Mindful of the moment while designing for the movement.
Multiple interconnected crises need to be addressed right now. How are you balancing urgency with process? How does your content engender meaningful progress? What does embodied action look like and how do we measure it? How can we actively participate in creating solutions together in real-time, while we plan for sustaining action together? How do we ensure that actions lead to real impact and not just checking the box? How do we meet the moment, but design for the movement?
Connect content to this year’s themes.
Each year the content team creates a set of themes to help guide conversations and actions. For SOCAP22 we are thinking about themes and tracks a little differently. We need broader buckets to enable looking at solutions, ideas, and questions from multiple angles, levels, lenses, and disciples. Find the SOCAP22 themes on the event page.
Avoid overly self-promotional content.
We strongly advise against purely advertorial content. If your session or workshop idea features a product or service, ask yourself if the purpose of your session 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 are a good fit.
Suggest a facilitator/moderator for your session.
The anchor of a great session is a facilitator or moderator able to hold the conversation, steer interaction, adapt the agenda along the way, and reign things in when needed. We urge you to name a facilitator or moderator. Who in your network would be able to fulfill that role and attract attendees to your session? Propose moderators or facilitators 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 social media campaigns to promote your SOCAP Open session during the voting portion and get the conversation going now. Please note that votes are not the only metric to determine session acceptance. Input from the committee of readers helps to ensure that less well-known voices have as much of a chance at being selected to speak as individuals or organizations with large online followings.
Get Inspired! Check out these SOCAP Open sessions from previous years.
Highlighted below are a few session examples, pitched through SOCAP Open and brought to the flagship convenings, from the past two years. You can see additional sessions from SOCAP and SPECTRUM on the SOCAP Global website and on the SOCAP Global Youtube channel to get a better idea of our conference content and the interests of our community, especially if you have never attended SOCAP before.
Pitch Session: This has it all — fast-moving pitches from social enterprises, Q&A with expert judges, plus prize money! Watch the session: Latinx Launchpad: a pitch competition hosted by Hispanics in Philanthropy
Fireside Chat: This SOCAP Open session ended up being elevated to the Main Stage. Watch the session: The 2% Approach to Dismantling Structural Racism in the U.S. Economy
Panel: Excellent example of a dynamic conversation with skilled moderation. Watch the session: Reimagining & Revolutionizing Investment Through Rematriation
Interactive Session: Great example of presenting a tool for the field with fantastic moderation/facilitation. Watch the session: Power, Risk, and Justice: A Model for Investors to Advance Racial Equity
Alternative Format from SPECTRUM2020 — Music! Turn it on. Play it while on a walk or sitting in the sun. Reflect and enjoy. Watch (and listen!) to the session: Raye Zaragoza performs Speak Truth To Power at SPECTRUM 2020
Podcasts: For the first time, SOCAP Open is accepting podcasts as a session format. Listen to one of the Money + Meaning podcasts for insights, from The History of Impact Investing with Antony Bugg-Levine to Racial Equity, Social Justice, and Political Power with Alicia Garza, Rashad Robinson, and Javier Torres.