From sweepstake fundraising to rewards-based timebanking, read about the innovative organisations whose ideas are transforming the face of giving
People giving their time, money, skills and resources plays a crucial role in building communities and tackling some of society’s biggest problems. We have long felt there is a compelling case for innovation to support a greater proportion of the population to take part.
The Innovation in Giving Fund, launched in 2011 in partnership with the Office for Civil Society, supported innovators, charities and public services working in this field.
Here are 75 of our visionary grantees and their ideas.
Young Philanthropy (now BeyondMe) introduces young professionals to a career of giving and develops their potential as leading philanthropists.
Spice is a timebanking platform which encourages people to volunteer with public services in return for ‘time credits’ that can be redeemed with a number of partner organisations.
Voluntary Action Kirklees (now Volunteering Kirklees) developed a tailored texting system to advertise volunteering opportunities and make volunteering brokering more efficient.
Tyze Personal Networks was an online tool that facilitated the provision of formal and informal care by enabling people to create a private community centred on one person.
Age UK worked with Innovation in Giving awardee Ecomodo to develop a new giving programme to both generate income and create greater social impact.
Women Like Us (now part of the Timewise Foundation) launched a digital careers service enabling women to exchange skills and advice on balancing work with a family.
Voluntary Action Leeds’ innovative project (now known as Giving Time) aims to help prisoners and ex-offenders change their lives through volunteering.
Ecomodo.com enabled anyone to lend out things they were not using (like drills and iPads), skills they had to share (like gardening) and spaces (like spare bedrooms) directly to others either for free, for a small fee or for charity. Unfortunately the platform is no longer in operation.
Support Staffordshire piloted NowVolunteer.org.uk, a website which aimed to make it quicker and simpler to match volunteers with opportunities and remove bureaucracy from volunteer management and recruitment.
Payroll Local enables Lambeth Council staff to receive ‘Brixton Pounds’ – a ‘complementary currency’ that encourages people to support local businesses and charities – directly in their pay packets.
Echo is a time bank network that lets people and organisations trade their time, resources and skills to help each other and get things done.
Growing Together is a unique new partnership of voluntary sector organisations, which aims to unlock land for community growing use.
Blue Dot is a digital currency that rewards people for doing good things for their favourite charities, such as volunteering, donating or ‘liking’ them on Facebook.
Blackburn with Darwen Community & Voluntary Service (now Community CVS) enables people to give their time and skills to assist local social enterprises, helping them achieve a bigger social impact.
Cool2Care created a new Family Reciprocity programme that made it easier for families with disabled children to connect and support each other through the exchange of time. Unfortunately Cool2Care is no longer in operation.
An initiative by WRVS (now Royal Voluntary Service), Care Bank allowed volunteers to earn credits that could be exchanged for services within the local community or gifted to people in need of support from a good neighbour or befriending scheme, for example.
SENCS (Social Enterprises Need Corporate Support) aims to link large businesses and their employees with local social enterprises through a community investment model.
2D Ltd, a volunteer centre in County Durham, created a volunteer ‘buddying’ scheme where people with long-term conditions helped others with similar health needs to live and feel better.
Olympic legacy project somewhereto_ enabled young people to use empty buildings and spaces for creative pursuits, putting idle space to great use and helping young people follow their passions. It is no longer running.
Keep Britain Tidy is working with a range of tech partners to reward and recognise the work of its supporters, while generating new income streams.
Believe.in was an online platform where individuals could create a profile around their charitable identity, raise funds and rally support for the causes they cared about.
Run by 10:10, Solar Schools was an innovative project that enabled schools to crowdfund the cost of installing solar panels. It closed in 2016.
Inspiring the Future is a free service that matches state schools with people from all sectors and professions who want to volunteer their time to talk about their education or careers.
Crowdfunder is an online crowdfunding platform that brings communities together and allows individuals to pledge on projects they really believe in.
GoodPeople is a web-based talent platform – built on top of social technologies such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook – helping organisations attract people who want to use their skills to support the causes they care about.
Pennies, the electronic charity box, encourages consumers to give micro-donations to charity (from 1p to 99p) when making online or card payments with a growing bank of retailers.
The National Funding Scheme (NFS) launched DONATE in 2014, a mobile giving platform freely available to all arts and cultural organisations in the UK.
The PositiveBid web application enabled fundraisers to run mobile auctions during charity events.
Lincolnshire Community & Voluntary Service (CVS) developed an innovative volunteer-supported policing project with the aim of getting more people involved in delivering public services.
The Children’s Society, which aims to ensure young people are happy, valued and respected, worked on making giving more personally relevant and transparent through mobile, web, app and widget technology.
The UK conservation charity launched ‘The Big Family Day Out’ in a bid to get more families volunteering to help preserve and protect historic places and spaces.
The national charity that supports people with disabilities and mental health needs embarked on an ambitious project to transform its culture of giving. Give Where You Live was a website designed to help members of the public donate time or money to their local community and see the results in a transparent way.
Young Scot Rewards is an innovative platform designed to encourage young people in Scotland to participate in positive activities by offering points which can then be used to unlock rewards.
Project Dirt is a social networking platform connecting community projects with green and social benefits. It is a knowledge hub for learning, sharing, encouraging, supporting and promoting great activities across communities.
Locality Brokers matched private sector property professionals with communities championing a planning, land or building project in England for mutual benefit.
GoodGym makes it easy for people to combine exercise with doing good in their local community.
Streetbank.com gives neighbours the opportunity to offer their time and skills – or lend and give things away – to anyone living within one mile of their home.
Yimby by JustGiving is a crowdfunding community for social good. Yimby provides an easy way for people to use the web to raise funds for social and local projects.
Givey uses social technologies like SMS and Twitter to encourage people to support the causes they care about and connect with other people who also want to make a difference.
Do-it Connect (now Do-it.org) seeks to dramatically increase the number of people volunteering by introducing new ways for organisations to recruit the volunteers they need.
Chip In, by award-winning creative agency, Fallon, was a range of uniquely designed, contactless payment card readers which were intended to make charitable giving fast, fun and harmonious with urban lifestyles.
Created by The People Who Share, a social enterprise aiming to mainstream the Sharing Economy worldwide, Compare and Share was the world’s first comparison site for the sharing economy. It closed in 2016.
Gateshead Voluntary Organisations Council (GVOC) supported communities to take over the running of local libraries in Gateshead, powered by volunteers.
#wewillgather used social networks to galvanise mass civic participation and action; a flashmob approach to taking practical action to improve your neighbourhood from the organisers of #riotcleanup. It closed in 2014.
Give What You’re Good At matches professionals who want to give their skills to charities who need talent.
Makewaves Experts was a platform from DigitalME and Makewaves that empowered parents to contribute to their children’s education by sharing their knowledge and skills.
Timebanking UK developed and implemented an open-source, free-to-use platform to significantly reduce the barriers to entry for setting up, joining or managing local timebanks.
Trading for Good is a digital service that inspires and supports small businesses to be more socially responsible.
The Amazings was a social venture that helped older people to share their knowledge and skills with their communities.
Set up in 2010 by Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), Greeniversity is a skills share initiative that gives people the opportunity to volunteer to teach or learn ‘green skills’ to use in their local community.
Buzzbnk was an online crowdfunding platform that connected positive thinkers with enterprising doers. It closed in 2017, under its new title FundIt.Buzz.
timto developed a unique group gifting platform called Uplifting Gifting, which made donating to charity an integral part of celebrating a special occasion.
Ministry of Stories is a creative writing and mentoring centre for young people in east London.
Impossible.com was originally a social network which aimed to encourage a giving economy, where people gave their time, skills and resources to help each other for free. It has since evolved into an innovation group and incubator.
‘Donate by Doing’ is a new form of sponsorship that replaces cash with action, enabling people to actively engage their friends in doing social and environmental good.
See the Difference was an online platform that enabled innovation in giving through the creation of brand new apps, events, brands and social experiences to make giving fun, engaging and rewarding.
Apps for Good is an acclaimed technology education programme that teaches young people how to build mobile and Facebook apps to solve real problems with the help of professional volunteers.
Ceeders was a social platform that enabled people who do charitable deeds to share their stories and inspire others to give.
Guess2Give allowed anyone taking part in an event to set up a sweepstake to raise money for charity.
Casserole is a neighbourhood food sharing scheme that connects people cooking at home with others in their community who could benefit from a home-cooked meal.
Year Here is a postgraduate leadership programme that challenges Britain's brightest talents to a year of tackling society's toughest problems.
iReach (now Reach Volunteering) is an online hub connecting charities with talented professionals who want to donate their skills.
Care4Care was a membership organisation where members spent a few hours a week supporting an older person in their local community – in return building up their own ‘care pension’. Despite early signs of promise and a successful trial on the Isle of Wight, the venture did not prove to be sustainable or scalable long-term, and Care4Care is unfortunately no longer running.
Photofoundation was a social enterprise which enabled people to give to charities by donating their best photos to an image bank. Charities could use the images for free, for their websites or marketing campaigns. The organisation is no longer in operation.
Mencap, the voice of people with learning disabilities, intended to partner with JustGiving to launch a platform to re-ignite giving by school children, their families and friends. While the project is no longer running, Mencap has partnered with Stay Up Late, one of Nesta’s New Radicals of 2014, on its Gig Buddies scheme.
Good for Nothing is a community of thinkers, do-ers, makers and tinkerers applying their skills and energy to accelerate the work of social ventures.
WWF, one of the world’s largest conservation organisations, teamed up with Scope, which supports disabled people and their families, to address their shared giving challenges. Together they looked to improve the recruitment and retention of supporters, and trialled several fundraising propositions in regular mobile giving.
FoodCycle developed a social franchise model to scale its network of volunteer-powered hubs which address food wastage, food poverty and social isolation.
Re:act was an innovative web app which recommended relevant opportunities for giving based on web users’ browsing behaviour.
Volunteer Centre Blackpool developed a new web platform where organisations could post ‘bite-sized’ volunteering opportunities to fit around busy lives.
Dot Dot Dot gives people who do great voluntary work cheap homes by placing them in properties which would otherwise be empty, on a temporary basis.
The organisation created a platform that let potential volunteers show charities precisely when they were available to help – down to the exact hours in the day. At the same time, charities could use the platform to find people to help with last-minute emergencies – or those who would like to commit to a regular schedule – while expanding their overall volunteer base.
The Garage Sale Trail is a marketplace that allows communities to reduce waste sent to landfill, enable new neighbourly connections, provide a platform for fundraising and stimulate local economies.
Horsesmouth was a social network for informal networking, where anyone could give and gain advice on everything from starting a business or finding the right career path to relationships or living with depression. After 10 years, the site shut in 2017. It had gained 100,000 members and hosted many mentoring exchanges.
Marie Curie Cancer Care is dedicated to the care of people with terminal cancer and other illnesses. The charity looked to increase donations through a new gaming platform, called Tickety Boo (now Good Ways to Win), making giving more reciprocal and fun.