Government puts up £10m for use of technology to encourage giving

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 7 September 2011

Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd

The Innovation in Giving Fund will be run by Nesta and fund organisations with visionary ideas, according to civil society minister Nick Hurd

The Office for Civil Society has opened a £10m fund to support charities, companies and other organisations that are developing new ways to encourage charitable giving and volunteering.

The Innovation in Giving fund, a new strand of the Social Action Fund that was announced in the department’s Giving White Paper in May, will give grants to individuals and groups that use technology to increase giving and volunteering.

The fund will be managed by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.  

Guidance on the fund, published by Nesta, says for-profit private companies can apply for the funding as long as they can demonstrate that their innovation would provide an identifiable public benefit. It says the fund is also open to charities, community groups, social enterprises, academics and the public sector.

The guidance says the government is particularly keen to see ideas that put people’s professional skills to good use, increase the number of people making charitable donations and "use reciprocity or exchange to stimulate civic action". It says it will not fund party political activity.

Organisations applying for the funding must submit a short video clip in which they explain what they would use the money for. The videos will be made publicly available, and groups that produce the best clips will be invited to pitch to a panel for the funding.

In a statement, civil society minister Nick Hurd said: "We want to root out the visionary ideas that too often never get the backing they need. We’re very open-minded about this, but ideas must have real potential to increase the giving of time or money."

A spokesman for the OCS said the £10m fund was in addition to the £24m available for the Social Action Fund. He said there were no formal guidelines on the amount of money groups could apply for, but the department expected to make individual awards worth between £100,000 and £200,000.

The deadline for applications is 31 October. More information about the fund can be found on the Nesta website.

The department has also announced today that the Social Investment Business will run the £24m Social Action Fund, which aims to "support the more proven models to get people more involved in their communities and reach out to people who don’t volunteer".

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