Digital Buddies

Full eligibility criteria

Digital Buddies

The Digital Fund will open in phases over the next two years. The first phase, open from 22nd October 2018 to 5pm 3rd December 2018, will accept proposals in two strands.

Digital Fund Strand 1 offers grants of up to £500,000 and a tailored support package. The aim is to help established organisations use digital to take a major leap forward.

Digital Fund Strand 2 offers grants of up to £500,000 for newer organisations that have already launched promising services that use digital to achieve scale or impact.

We expect grants to both strands to last from 1 to 4 years.

Success factors

Digital Fund Strand 1 offers grants of up to £500,000 and a tailored support package. The aim is to help established organisations use digital to take a major leap forward. We expect grants to last from 1 to 4 years.

Successful Strand 1 proposals will:

  • Demonstrate a firm commitment by organisational leadership to changing the way that the organisation serves people and communities.
  • Contain a plan that has been developed in accordance with good digital practices, such as committing to an iterative approach, and making sure that people are in the lead.
  • Supply evidence that the organisation has already invested in digital, prior to this proposal.
  • Show a commitment to working generously, sharing what you learn and the products or services you produce with others.

We are not looking for:

  • Proposals that contain a highly detailed plan setting out every detail of your forthcoming transformation. Instead we welcome proposals that clearly differentiate between what you know now, and what you will learn along the journey.
  • Proposals that are driven by a desire to use technology.
  • Proposals that are based around core budget shortfalls.

Start applying for strand 1

Digital Fund Strand 2 offers grants of up to £500,000 for newer organisations that have already launched promising services that use digital to achieve scale or impact. We expect grants to last from 1 to 4 years.

Successful strand 2 proposals will:

  • Have made use of user-centred design.
  • Clearly demonstrate either the potential to scale your impact at low cost, or clearly demonstrate potential to use digital to bring substantial benefits to a specific group of people.
  • Be driven by teams that combine knowledge of an issue that matters to people and communities, with experience of digital delivery.
  • Relate to a product or service that is far enough through its development process that people are currently benefiting from it.
  • Provide evidence of impact upon those people.
  • Have a theory of change or similar document showing how the product or service will achieve aims that benefit a specific group of people.
  • Show an understanding of the challenge of sustaining impact after the ending of Big Lottery Fund support.

We are not looking for:

  • Products or services that are not yet mature enough to be benefiting people.
  • Products or services that cannot show considerable evidence of user research in their creation.
  • Products or services that duplicate existing services with no substantial innovation.

Start applying for strand 2

It is also important to us that you are committed to equalities and the environment. We’ll want to know about your equalities and environmental policies if we are interested in your idea.

Eligibility criteria

The following eligibility criteria apply to both strands of funding. There are specific criteria for each strand below this section.

You can apply if you’re a:

  • voluntary and community organisation
  • registered charity
  • social enterprise
  • group of organisations, if they are led by a voluntary and community organisations or social enterprise
  • community interest companies (with two or more directors).

We can’t accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • organisations based outside the UK
  • anyone who is applying on behalf of another organisation
  • organisations without at least two unconnected* people on the board or committee.
  • companies that are aimed at generating profits for private distribution.

(* not a relation by blood, marriage, in a long-term relationship or people living together at the same address)

Applications will only be eligible if people and communities in the UK are the primary focus of investment – benefits created elsewhere are permissible but must not be the main aim. Applications are also only eligible if they are made by organisations that are incorporated within the UK.

Public funding for organisations carrying out commercial activities, including those with charitable status, is governed by the European Commission’s ‘State Aid’ rules. If you are invited to submit a full proposal to the Digital Fund, we will talk to you further about this.

Additional eligibility criteria that apply only to Strand 1

  • Your organisation must have had an income over £500,000 last year. If your organisation had income of over £10m last year, we will ask for a matching contribution that will be tailored to your size

Additional eligibility criteria that apply only to Strand 2

  • Your organisation must have established its legal structure after the year 2000. We have taken a decision to focus on newer organisations in this strand following our research for the Digital Fund.
  • You must currently operate a product or service that is functional and being used by the type of people and communities you plan to serve in future

What can you spend the money on?

We can fund:

  • staff salaries
  • project activities
  • running costs
  • small-scale refurbishment
  • equipment
  • organisational development

We can’t fund:

  • proposals from organisations that are run primarily for private gain or to generate profits for private distribution, or any activities that generate profits for private gain
  • religious activity (although we can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and doesn’t include religious content)
  • activities that replace government funding
  • activities that benefit individuals, rather than the wider community
  • political activities
  • retrospective costs
  • loan repayments

More funding opportunities

There will be further funding opportunities within the Digital Fund in 2019. Follow us on social media or keep checking our website for up-to-date information.

If you’re a small charity or small community group, we may be able to offer you free digital support from 2019.