A year of giving
And so it arrives, the end of the year. Traditionally a time of pausing for reflection, wool gathering the events of the previous twelve months and trying to piece together a picture of what’s been achieved…
So what has the Innovation in Giving Fund achieved in 2012?
The fund has been working against a backdrop of huge uncertainty and some pretty grim statistics. Mind The Gap confirmed our suspicions that there was a growing generational divide in giving, with younger people giving less. The UK Giving Survey documented a 20% drop in household giving; an enormous slump that we might only in our most optimistic mood consider a blip, rather than a longer-term trend.
Our own research into Giving Trends further highlighted the fragility of our 'civic core' - that small percentage of the UK population who are responsible for the vast majority of giving that takes place. That civic core, we also know, is ageing. Alongside this, charities, voluntary sector organisations and community groups are facing big challenges as a result in cuts to funding and increasing demand.
But holding open the space for innovation at times like this is critical. And it's a serious business. Just as we see local councils seizing innovation as a deliberate strategy for addressing some fundamental challenges to meeting increased need in a time of financial austerity through our Creative Councils programme, so too is this necessary for the third sector.
However pressing current, immediate need is, there must always be space made to experiment with different operating models, make room for different perspectives bringing different kinds of solutions and support those who have an appetite to shoulder the risks of trialing new ideas.
The fund has supported a great many such people, organisations and ideas and it's great to see their potential for impact in addressing some of our most pressing social challenges. Through the fund we are supporting innovations that:
- support people to age well (like Care4Care, Casserole, The Amazings, Tyze, The Good Gym)
- make more intelligent use of idle resources in communities and organisations (like Hackney Shares, Streetbank, Ecomodo, Somewhereto, Locality Brokers)
- find new ways of enabling people to give money to the causes they care about (like Pennies, Re:Act, Just Giving, Payroll Local, Young Philanthropy, National Funding Scheme, PeopleFund, Buzzbnk)
- develop new and better ways of asking people to give their time (like Do Nation, Slivers of Time, Good For Nothing)
- platforms which more intelligently connect employee skills with local community need (like The Good People, Reach, Give What You're Good at, Women Like Us)
- broker skilled volunteering into schools (Inspiring The Future, Apps for Good DigitalME)
- and ideas that create more opportunities for people to engage in and self-organise community action (like Garage Sale Trail, We Will Gather)
To name a few. If it sounds diverse and wide-ranging, that's because it is. Purposefully so.
The larger charities that will be supported in 2013 through the fund will provide a great opportunity to see some of these ideas taken to scale. We'll also see a consolidation of activity in 2013, with a sharp focus on impact and scaling of the most promising ideas, as well as rolling out proven models of impact volunteering, solutions which foster greater and more effective business giving and supporting volunteer centres to achieve greater impact and be self-sustaining. Another year of hard work and graft - on everyone's part.
Meanwhile, it feels that the time is right to celebrate efforts and achievements, pause for a bit of merriment and a mince pie - and gird our loins for whatever 2013 may bring.