About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Who are we investing in?

Pop Up Projects is a non-profit children’s literature agency established in 2011, with a vision of a more literate society where it is the universal right of every child and young person to access and enjoy literature. The organisation’s mission is to transform lives through literature, especially through working with people in deprived places and challenging circumstances. At the heart of its offer is the Pop Up Festival, an annual literature festival delivered in schools across the UK, with an emergent strand outside of schools for young refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants. Pop Up Projects also publishes a supplementary literary magazine, offers teacher CPD on engaging children with reading and writing, and runs a talent development programme for aspiring children’s illustrators from underrepresented backgrounds.

What are we investing in?

Pop Up Projects approached the Cultural Impact Development Fund for an unsecured loan of £150,000 to achieve two goals: to shift the organisation away from reliance on grant funding to a diversified fundraising and earned income portfolio, and to grow its established programmes while also developing newer activities. Pop Up Projects used its investment to add a new post of Education and Development Director, creating more capacity for fundraising from individual giving and corporate sponsorship. The investment also allowed Pop Up Projects to increase staff capacity to grow its Festival programme in schools and with refugee communities. Additionally, the organisation used its investment to develop website and media assets to promote its programme offer and launch its 10th-anniversary fundraising campaign.

In addition to transforming its business model, the investment will support the organisation’s efforts to scale up the reach of the Pop Up Festival. With increased staff capacity and new promotional assets, Pop Up Projects aims to grow the Festival and reach a higher number of primary, secondary and SEN schools, and community organisations working with young refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. Indirectly, the additional staff capacity will also allow the organisation to devote more time to its sector development work developing diverse talent and ensuring that the next generation of children’s illustrators is more ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse. By generating more income from individual giving, corporate sponsorships and contracts with schools, Pop Up Projects will create a diversified income portfolio to support its mission-critical literacy programming.

Read the full Pop Up Projects case study on the Arts & Culture Finance website.

East of England