A big challenge for any new charity is covering the costs of the good work you hope to do. From day one there are basic overheads that need to be covered before you can begin to focus on making a difference.
Core funding has always been crucial in growing the Pennies movement and we have been very fortunate to receive support from a number of organisations, individuals and foundations in the form of donations, grants and pro bono expertise.
All our supporters have one thing in common: they believe in what we are doing and want to ensure that the digital charity box achieves mass availability to raise significant new funds for many charities.
Each and every funding opportunity raises its own individual challenges. Some funders like to remain in the background whilst others prefer to play a more active role in providing support and not just funding. In rare cases some funders even involve the public in driving decisions.
Last year we had our first experience of applying for funding which involved engagement with the public through the Google Global Impact Challenge. When it was launched we felt this provided not only the opportunity for much needed additional funding, but would also introduce our work to a whole new audience.
We were over the moon to discover we were finalists particularly when we heard that we would be featured on the Google homepage in a film they would create for us. This was an amazing opportunity to get our message out to the general public and raise awareness of what we are doing. Whilst we weren’t one of the four winners, taking part as a finalist really was a huge boost for us and at the award ceremony Google surprised all the finalists with a cash donation too. We also enjoy ongoing support from the Google team.
Our experience with Google was very different to working with a traditional grant maker. Although there was the usual paper application and rapid interviews with representatives from Google in order to reach the short list, much of the finalist activity was directed to working with Google to create the short film highlighting our impact as a charity to attract the public vote.
By the time the Google Global Impact Challenge was introduced Pennies was already established and collecting thousands of donations every week. We would never have reached this stage without early funders like Nesta.
Nesta’s Innovation in Giving Fund gave us the opportunity to explore new channels for the digital charity box at an early stage in our development and to continue building on that through follow-on funding.
The Nesta approach was also different. By funding a number of different organisations with the common objective of game changing innovation they created a community and provided networking opportunities to encourage collaboration. Again the application process was not the traditional form filling exercise: we created a short film to bring Pennies to life.
Thanks to Google, Nesta and our other supporters Pennies has grown from strength to strength with 10 million consumer donations made to date. The momentum continues with Pennies as new partners and channels grow the opportunities for consumers to donate. We’d certainly recommend that new charities explore all the possible funding opportunities out there. It really has made our work possible.
For more information please visit: www.pennies.org.uk