Innovation in Giving Fund
Call for Ideas
Opens 7 September – Closes Noon 14 October 2011
NESTA is pleased to announce with the Office of Civil Society an open call for ideas to the
£10m Innovation in Giving Fund. We are looking for proposals which have the potential to
deliver a significant increase in the giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and
money. The Innovation in Giving Fund aims to invest in, support and grow innovative ideas
that bring about a step-change in levels of giving and exchange and which have a credible
route to being self-sustaining in the longer term. This document outlines the purpose of the
fund, what we are looking for, what we will offer successful applicants and details of how to
1. Purpose of the Fund
While all evidence points to the UK as being a generous society, levels of donations and
volunteering have reached a plateau and there are a number of persistent barriers to
engaging more people in the voluntary sector and civil society. These include a lack of spare
time or money, bureaucratic obstacles and, critically, a lack of access to opportunities
which allow people to give and exchange in a way which chimes with their values, interest,
expertise, assets and availability.
In May 2011, the Government’s Giving White Paper announced a range of measures to
support new and better ways to enable the giving and exchange of time, assets, skills,
resources and money, including the Innovation in Giving Fund.
“Our ambition is to stimulate a step change in giving... to make it easier and more
compelling to give time and money... to give better support to the trailblazers and
Frances Maude Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster
General and Nick Hurd Minister for Civil Society
From NESTA’s own work researching and supporting innovations in the fields of public
services, social action and collaborative technologies, we know that there are a substantial
number of innovative ideas, models and enterprises that have the potential to revolutionise
giving and exchange in the voluntary sector, some of which were highlighted in the Giving
As well as finding and supporting some of the most promising innovations in giving, the
Fund aims to catalyse new ideas and collaborations, build a body of knowledge and
learning, and help bring about a wider transformation in the culture of giving across
2. What kinds of things will the Fund support?
The Innovation in Giving Fund will support innovations that have the potential to deliver a
significant uplift in the giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and money to
achieve social goals and public benefit. The White Paper on Giving highlighted some
examples of innovations in this field and through this open call we want to find and support
many more. Some of the features that we are particularly interested in are:
Harnessing the potential of collaborative and networked technologies – for example
online platforms that connect people to opportunities to give, share or take action, the use
of mobile phones and smart phone apps or connect different platforms or systems together
in ways which enables greater opportunities for giving and exchange for the benefit of the
Platforms and mechanisms that promote reciprocity – for example the use of time credits,
points systems or other complementary currencies to create a more reciprocal relationship
that values giving and incentivises people to volunteer and get involved. We are
particularly interested in ideas that use public services and community organisations as
platforms for giving, for example in housing associations, schools or community centres.
Making use of idling capacity – for example platforms, models, market places & enterprises
that enable people or organisations to share, exchange and redistribute assets, skills and
resources, particularly where these can be shown to build relationships and social capital to
deliver public benefit.
Increasing the number of people that make donations to charity – for example
innovations that connect donors and recipients in sustained, more effective relationships,
or which make it easier for people to give, change the culture of giving and increase the
amount that existing donors give to charity.
Improving the targeting of pro bono support from commercial organisations – for
example finding better ways to match needs and availability of expertise.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list and we welcome proposals of all kinds that
meet the objectives, core criteria and eligibility of the Fund (set out below).
Alongside the Innovation in Giving Fund, the Government is launching a Social Action Fund.
The Social Action Fund will support and expand schemes in priority areas. This could be
encouraging people in their locality to come together and support each other, using the
momentum of national events such as the London 2012 Olympic Games and Diamond
Jubilee to encourage people to get involved or looking at the different life-stages of
volunteering – from primary school children to people approaching retirement and beyond.
The aim will be to support existing, well developed organisations to rapidly expand front-
line social action, with a strong preference for applicants who have secured matched
funding. Further announcements on the fund will be published on the Cabinet Office
3. How is the fund structured and what will it offer?
There are two parts to the Fund – Game Changing Innovations and Local Platforms. When
applying through the online application form, you will be asked to specify which strand you
are applying to.
Game changing innovations in giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and
This part of the Fund will focus on innovations that demonstrate the potential to have
national impact at significant scale. That means the potential to engage people in the
hundreds of thousands over time. Proposals submitted to this part of the Fund can be at
any stage of development, from an early stage idea to something with a proven track
record and the possibility of going to greater scale, as long as they meet the core criteria
set out below.
We expect to make first stage grants of up to £50,000 to approximately twenty
organisations to back game changing innovations in this first round, alongside a package of
tailored non-financial support to help develop the idea and build the capacity to put it into
Recipients of these first round grants will have the opportunity to secure further stages of
funding, with additional awards to be made from spring 2012. Further stages of funding
will be structured to reflect the nature and needs of the organisation implementing the
idea and will not necessarily be in the form of a grant and could involve significant levels of
investment. We expect the innovations that receive further stages of funding from this
Fund to attract co-investment from other sources.
Local platforms for giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and money
This part of the Fund will focus on spreading and growing proven or promising local
platforms for giving and exchange. That means we are looking for innovations that already
have some track record of impact and which can be scaled, replicated or adapted to
increase that impact, including through reaching new geographical areas, communities,
issues or contexts.
We expect to make grants of between £50,000 and £150,000 to approximately 15
organisations, alongside a package of tailored non-financial support to help put it into
practice. This part of the Fund will give priority to proposals that have already secured
4. Core Criteria
Applications to both parts of the Fund will be assessed against these core criteria:
i. Impact – proposals will need to demonstrate the potential for significant impact at
scale – specifically what the potential is for increasing giving and exchange of time,
assets, skills, resources and money, what social outcomes and public benefit will be
achieved and how impact will measured. Proposals should be clear and realistic
about the ambition and the trajectory for achieving impact at scale. They should
also explain their understanding of the demand that they will be responding to.
ii. Innovation – proposals will need to demonstrate that they are innovative, which
might mean applying an existing idea to a new context, a disruptive new application
of technology or a wholly new idea. We are particularly interested in proposals that
use reciprocity as a means of increasing giving and giving and exchange of time,
assets, skills, resources and money.
iii. Sustainability – proposals will need to demonstrate how they will be sustained
beyond the support they receive from the Fund, which should be seen as
investment. We will not support proposals that create ongoing demand for grant
funding. We will give preference to proposals that can demonstrate match funding,
whether expressed through time or money.
iv. Openness – all applicants to the Fund need to demonstrate a willingness to being
open to challenge and support, as well as sharing their experiences and learning to
help establish a body of knowledge that can bring about a sustained change in the
culture of giving and exchange. NESTA intends to carry out and publish research into
the insights gained through the Fund.
v. Capacity – all applicants to the Fund will need to describe the capacity of the team
that will put the idea into practice, where the gaps are and how they would propose
to fill those.
The Fund is focused on increasing giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and
money in England. While your organisation can be established in any part of the UK, the
benefits of your proposal should focus primarily or significantly on England.
We are open to ideas and proposals from all sources and sectors and all types of
organisations – communities, charities large and small, social entrepreneurs, businesses,
academia, public services or other organisations. We cannot fund activity which is party-
political in intention, use, or presentation and we will not normally fund the purchase of
The Fund is open to for-profit, private companies; however funding will only be awarded
for projects that have an identifiable public benefit related to the aims of the Fund and
where any private benefit is incidental and not excessive.
5. How to apply
This first call for ideas for the Innovation in Giving Fund is open from 7 th September to 14th
October 2011 at 12 noon.
The Government has made a commitment over two years to the Innovation in Giving Fund
and this is the first of what we anticipate will be several calls for ideas throughout that
period. Proposals that are unsuccessful in this first round may be eligible to apply to future
rounds of funding. The focus and approach to future rounds of funding is subject to change
in light of the experience and learning from this round.
To apply for the Fund, you will need to:
Complete an online application form
Record a 3 minute video summarising your idea
The online application form can be found here and is available in PDF format here.
Your video should be no longer than 3 minutes and should be posted on Vimeo, sending
the link via the online application form. In line with our wider ambitions for the Fund, all of
the video pitches will be publicly available.
For more detail on what we are looking for in your application and video see the Frequently
Shortlisted applications to the Fund will be invited to one of a series of events where you
will be asked to present your proposal to a selection panel. These events could involve an
element of peer review.
We expect to receive a significant number of applications to the Fund and plan to make
awards in tranches from early December 2011 until early 2012, before opening another call
for ideas. The first tranche of shortlisted applications will be informed by 14 November
The first selection event for Local Platforms will be 8 December 2011.
The first selection event for Game Changing Innovations will be 15 December 2011.
The selection panel will be announced in October and will include people with expertise in
innovation and giving.
Before you submit, please ensure you have carefully read this guidance, the FAQs and the
terms and conditions, which are available at www.nesta.org.uk/giving
If you have any further questions or queries relating to the Fund or any accessibility
requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact NESTA on 020 7438 2500
NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the
country’s major economic and social challenges. Our work is enabled by an endowment,
provided by the National Lottery, and we operate at no cost to the government or
taxpayer. NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of
experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in early-stage companies.
About the Office for Civil Society
The Big Society is about helping people to come together to improve their own lives. It’s
about putting more power in people’s hands – a massive transfer of power from Whitehall
to local communities.
The Office for Civil Society, part of the Cabinet Office, works across government
departments to translate the Big Society agenda into practical policies, provides support to
voluntary and community organisations and is responsible for delivering a number of key
Big Society programmes.
Innovation in Giving Terms and Conditions
These terms and conditions govern the Call for Ideas from the National Endowment for Science, Technology
and the Arts (“NESTA” or “we”) working with the Office of Civil Society for our Innovation in Giving Fund (“the
Programme”). Please read these terms and conditions carefully before submitting an application to the
Programme. By submitting an application, you accept these terms and conditions and agree to comply with
them. The lead organisation identified in the application will be responsible for compliance with these terms
and conditions by its partners and anyone else involved in its proposal.
1. What happens after you apply?
1.1 We will assess (with our partners) any applications received by the deadline set out in the Call for Ideas
and which satisfy the eligibility criteria set out in the Call for Ideas against the selection criteria set out
in the Call for Ideas. As outlined in the Call for Ideas, shortlisted applicants will be invited to present to
a selection panel and we currently intend to inform the first tranche of shortlisted applicants of our
decision by mid November 2011.
1.2 The decision of NESTA and our partners about eligibility, about selection of applicants for the
Programme, and about the amount and type of support to be provided (if any), shall be final.
1.3 Participation in workshops and interviews, research and evaluation is a condition of participation in the
Programme. Any financial or other support awarded by NESTA will be subject to satisfaction of all
relevant legal and regulatory requirements, signature of appropriate legal documentation and
completion of appropriate milestones. Financial support provided by NESTA may not cover all the costs
of your project and VAT is not payable on grants.
1.4 You and your partners must bear any costs relating to the submission of your application and
participation in the Programme. You agree to take independent legal advice if you are concerned about
these terms and conditions or your participation in the Programme.
1.5 We reserve the right to refuse to accept any applications; to suspend or withdraw the Call for Ideas or
the Programme at any time; to vary the form and substance of the Programme or extend the
deadlines; to reduce or increase the number of applicants selected for each Phase or the amount of
support available under the Programme; and/or to reject any proposal or withdraw a place on the
Programme if you are in breach of these terms and conditions, fail to participate fully in the
Programme or in the event of an actual or potential conflict of interest. If any selected applicant
subsequently withdraws or is withdrawn from the Programme, we may select a replacement applicant,
but will not be obliged to do so.
1.6 We reserve the right to vary the Call for Ideas or these terms and conditions at any time and at our
sole discretion. Variations will take effect from the date they are posted on our website so you must
check this page regularly to see the current version. If you provide us with a contact email address, we
will aim to notify you of any changes.
2 Your promises to us
By submitting an application for the Programme, you confirm on behalf of yourself and your partners
you satisfy the eligibility criteria set out in the Call for Ideas and all information and materials
provided to NESTA by you or your partners are true, accurate and complete and you will notify us
immediately of any changes to information or materials provided
you have provided us with all information which might reasonably be thought to be relevant or
necessary for us to consider your application
you and your partners have, or will obtain as required, all authorisations, registrations, licences,
consents and permissions necessary to submit your application, carry out your proposal and
comply with these terms and conditions
in participating in the Programme, you and your partners will act lawfully, ethically and in good
faith and will comply fully with equality and anti-bribery legislation and with any other applicable
laws, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice, and will comply with our reasonable
requirements, including in relation to health & safety and security, while attending interviews and
workshops as part of the Programme
neither you nor any of your partners has any actual or potential conflict of interest with NESTA
(including with our trustees, officers or employees) in making your application or complying with
these terms and conditions and you will immediately inform us if you become aware of any such
conflict of interest
3 Use of Information
3.1 We will use information which you or your partners provide, including contact details for your staff and
your partners’ staff, to administer the Programme and to carry out evaluation and research. We may
share this information with the Office of the Civil Society and anyone else helping us to run or evaluate
the Programme, subject to appropriate obligations of confidentiality and data protection.
3.2 We may carry out publicity and promotion for the Programme and publish our research and evaluation
in relation to the Programme, although we will not publish any confidential, sensitive or personal
information. You agree that you and your partners will participate in publicity for the Programme and
consent on behalf of you and your partners to the use of the names of your organisations, a summary
of your proposal, and photographs/recordings of your participation in the Programme, in promotion
and publications relating to the Programme. The video submitted as part of your application will be
available to the public online via Vimeo and other websites. Any publicity which you or your partners
wish to carry out in relation to the Programme must acknowledge NESTA and the Office of the Civil
Society and be approved by us in advance.
3.3 You acknowledge that we are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the FOIA") and agree
to assist us in complying with our obligations under the FOIA. We will solely determine whether or not
any information is exempt under the FOIA and what information, if any, should be disclosed in
response to a request under the FOIA. We acknowledge that you and your partners may also be
subject to the FOIA.
4 Limitation of Liability
4.1 We will not be liable to you, your partners or anyone else in respect of any direct or indirect loss,
economic loss or loss of opportunity arising as a result of your application to the Programme, any
breach by NESTA of these terms and conditions or any reliance by you on any statement made or
advice given by us, our partners or contractors. We do not make any warranty about the accuracy or
completeness of the information provided by NESTA about the Programme. Any dispute between you
and/or your partners and/or any other applicant must be resolved between you and independently of
4.2 Without prejudice to Clause 4.1, our maximum liability to you or anyone else under these terms and
conditions (if any) will be limited to £500. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude or limit
our liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence or fraudulent misrepresentation made by
5 Governing Law and Jurisdiction
These terms and conditions shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of
England and Wales and both parties hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.