I just finished reading ten of the Letters of Interest/Intent submitted to Social Venture Partners Cincinnati for our 2013 Investment cycle. Our subgroup meets tomorrow evening to evaluate the letters and screen them into the next phase. Now, as background, our focus area was communicated to any non profit interested in applying as "Transforming Children and Youth at Risk through Education".
I applaud (and even welcomed) the non-profits whose mission might not exactly fit our focus area but could make the connection and could innovatively describe why their mission and outcomes would make sense for SVP to invest with them. We asked for no more than three pages (12 point type) of their input.
Now for confidentiality (and diplomacy), I will not name the non-profit's submission that totally wasted their time (and our time). It is a classic example of the adage - "If its worth doing --- Do it right" or said another way "If it's not worth doing right - don't do it".
The cover letter and three page submission used the word children (or youth) only twice (once in the cover letter and once in the three page submission). There was no mention of the word education!!!! Hmmmmm that doesn't show much effort in the attempt to connect their mission with our focus area!
Time is one of the most important commodities we possess (and each of us are given an equal quantity each day). Being strategic and deliberate about how you use your time (and respect for others) is your choice. Doing anything consumes that precious resource. Doing something with a low probability of success is a waste of that resource (and potentially others also).
If you're going to "Just do it" - "Respectfully try to do it right"