Thursday, 15 September 2011

Funding Open Innovation Scheme to Find New Ways to Support Good Causes

The UK government continues to call on open innovation as part of its Big Society campaign. In addition to Social Impact Bonds, Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd, has announced a £10 million funding initiative to search and support new was to increase volunteering efforts and charitable donations. The Innovation in Giving Fund announced in the government's Giving White Paper is part of a larger programme to encourage social action.

Even in times of austerity, innovators have found inventive means of encouraging charitable intentions into action with platforms such as Freecycle (a means of donating unwanted items to those who can use them) and JustGiving (allowing people to sponsor charitable events online). The government is looking to fund similar initiative in the hopes of tapping into an unrealised community spirit that rewards people for their generosity.
Lots of people already get involved but many don’t for a whole array of reasons, they are missing out. Simple things, like whether or not we know our neighbours, can have a huge impact on our own well-being. And more people doing more to help each other will improve our communities. There’s massive untapped community spirit, skill, and other resources, I want to hear about ways to unleash it. - Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society
Managing the Innovation in Giving Fund is the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). NESTA is an NGO (Non Government Organisation) run by an independent board of trustees that provides expertise on how to help tackle some of the UK's socio-economic challenges. NESTA are calling for applicants to submit a video pitch of their idea with an application form, to be considered for presentation before a select panel. The pitch should focus on the government's key ideas which include;

  • The use of reciprocity, exchange of ideas and services for mutual benefit to encourage social action such as rewards through a points system
  • Finding ways of encouraging  professionals to donate their time and skills pro bono (for public good)
  • Means of increasing public donations to social causes
  • Open sharing of ideas, previously hidden assets and resources with a view to help build social capital.

Applicants must submit their pitch by 14th October 2011. The video pitches will be made public and the winning designs will be awarded significant funding to see their idea brought to life. For more information on how to participate and submit an application visit the NESTA - Innovation in Giving Fund website.

Image Credit; Sludge Gulper

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