Listed! UK Tech for Good Funders

Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor

Looking to fund a social impact tech idea or digital service? We’ve compiled a list of Tech for Good funders supporting UK not-for-profits.

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Tech for Good. A movement rising. A dawn herald to the age of digital service delivery. It’s here and funding is available.

If you work for a charity or social enterprise this article shows you where to find that funding. You should also keep an eye out for free guide to getting started with digital services which will be available very soon!

What is Tech for Good?

To the charity sector Tech for Good has come to mean tech that addresses social, economic and environmental challenges. For most not-for-profits this means digital service delivery.

It’s definitely not digital fundraising or digital comms. Not all charity digital activity fits into this definition of Tech for Good. Cassie Robinson from the National Lottery Community Fund has written an insightful article into these different types of activity.

What type of funder funds it?

UK grant funders fit into three broad digital service funding categories:

  • Active - making direct grants or funding digital service initiatives - we’ve identified them below
  • Inactive but curious - not yet making grants but interested in learning how to - we’ve listed a couple we currently see in this position
  • Not yet interested, uninformed - there are some funders here. They will likely be the last to join the party. That’s OK.

Active UK funders

Here’s a list to consider. Not all will suit your organisation.

  • TECH FOR GOOD FUND
    Offers up to £48k per grant, and a support package. Funded by Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Applicants must fit Comic Relief’s funding themes. Opens a two month call for applications annually. Next application call expected mid-2020. More info.
  • THE NATIONAL LOTTERY COMMUNITY FUND’S DIGITAL FUND
    Runs multiple rounds of 1-4 year funding. Two distinct strands per round. Up to £500k per grant. Round One closed in Dec 2018. We don’t yet know when Round Two will open. More info.
  • COMIC RELIEF
    Though they run the Tech for Good programme, Comic Relief also happily accept digital service applications to their other funding programmes. This includes their Tech vs Abuse programme and those without an explicit tech focus. Programmes change every few months. View current programmes.
  • THE PAUL HAMLYN FOUNDATION
    Co-fund the Tech for Good programme with Comic Relief, but are also open to digital service applications across their six strategic priorities. You could apply for a small early stage ideas and pioneers grant as a first step.
  • THE SOCIAL TECH TRUST
    Mainly offer loans and equity funding on a programme basis. But still make some not-for-profit awards eg Techstarter Awards not for profit category. Programmes change every few months. Previously were the Nominet Trust. View current programmes.
  • CHILDREN IN NEED
    Run the A Million & Me programme funding digital and human-powered children’s mental health projects. They’ve already awarded over £2 million in digital grants. No open call for applications at time of writing, but check their website for updates.
  • LEGAL EDUCATION FOUNDATION
    Makes grants to not-for-profit legal services. This includes funding digital services. More info.

Active, but less so

  • CLOTHWORKERS FOUNDATION & ESMEE FAIRBAIRN FOUNDATION
    Currently (May 2019) making their first step into funding Tech for Good by contributing 25% each to Comic Relief’s upcoming £600k Tech vs Abuse fund. Both could fund more tech in the future. Read the Clothworker’s news article and find out more about the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
  • CO-OP FOUNDATION
    Fund The Federation, a community of digital innovators supporting small and early stage social enterprises in Manchester. Read about their support package.
  • NOMINET
    Nominet’s public benefit programme supports digital initiatives with a social purpose. They currently run funding partnerships with Samaritans and The Princes Trust Online. Also fund the One Million & Me partnership with Children in Need. More info.

Nearly active funders

We expect other funders to join this list. Currently the most curious seem to be The Henry Smith Charity and the Lloyds Bank Foundation (see their Enable fund). Worth an approach? Perhaps. But talk to them yourself first.

You might also try approaching other funders without a digital track record. It could be they are ready for a conversation with you. Here’s a guide to other grant types and funders.

Good luck

Got a question or comment on this list? Want to talk to us about a funding proposal? Contact us here.

And don’t forget to sign up for our free charities guide to getting started with digital services.