What is the Savers Support Fund ?
The Savers Support Fund will scale proven social action interventions that improve money management skills and reduce debt. All projects must work with those who are vulnerable to financial shocks; specifically, a majority of families who are ‘just about managing’, or young people aged 14-25 (covering both students at school and those seeking or entering work for the first time).
What is social action?
Whether we call it formal or informal volunteering, giving, social action or simply ‘people helping people’, spending some of your time in the service of others is a deeply ingrained part of our culture. Social action is about people coming together to help improve their lives and solve the problems that are important to their communities.
It can broadly be defined as practical action in the service of others, which is; carried out by individuals or groups of people working together; not mandated and not for profit; done for the good of others, whether individuals, communities and or society; and bringing about social change or value.
We think social action has a key role to play in augmenting public services, from community networks supporting older people to live well and peer networks for people living with long term health conditions, to young people helping their peers navigate job and training opportunities.
What types of social action projects will the Savers Support Fund support?
We are especially interested in supporting:
1. Mentoring and peer to peer models to upskill beneficiaries in budgeting and financial management skills.
2. Digital social action that provides guidance and support to manage and keep to a budget, where and when people need it most.
3. Sharing economy approaches that help people manage personal budgets and access goods and services cheaply.
What do you mean by 'just about managing' or 'jam'?
There is no precise definition of a ‘Jam’ household, but these families tend to have at least one person in work, are struggling to get by, and often have less than a month's income worth of savings. There are about six million households in this situation, according to the Resolution Foundation.
We do not currently work with money management, does this mean we can’t apply?
The assessment criteria will focus on evidence of impact in working to support families who are just about managing or people aged 14 to 25 to improve their money management skills and reduce debt.
Given this, it is unlikely applicants who do not already have a track record of working in this area would be shortlisted to the next stage, unless you have good evidence to demonstrate how your current approach could be adapted for the fund
What types of volunteers does this project have to work with?
The nature of volunteers you draw on will be dependant on the nature of your programme. However, proven mentoring, peer support or digital forms of social action will be given a preference.
Is there a minimum number of beneficiaries our innovation will need to have?
We appreciate that volunteering interventions will all be different in terms of intensity. For very intensive interventions we would expect projects to engage a minimum of 250 volunteers. Less intensive interventions would need to engage many more.
What do you mean by scale for this fund?
This fund will back projects that can grow - for example to new geographies, or through new partnerships etc - and reach many more people. We are flexible on your route to scale and this may include a range of strategies from organic growth, to using digital solutions, to franchising .
If you are looking for support to maintain your existing initiative in a single location, or reaching a similar number of people then this fund is unlikely to be the right source of support for you.
What kind of evidence do you require us to have for our expression of interest (EOI)?
We have found that innovations which understand if their work is making a positive difference in the world and can demonstrate this are more likely to grow and be commissioned or purchased by others.
As innovations grow and reach more people, it is important that you have increased confidence to be able to determine what difference the innovation is making and how it is making this difference.
The Savers Support Fund has adopted Nesta's Standards of Evidence as the basis for understanding and assessing the evidence of impact for a specific intervention or service.
The standards of evidence are on a one to five scale with level 1 being the starting point where a project or service has a clear account of how it intends to achieve impact but no evidence, moving up to level 5 where the innovation has very strong evidence of effectiveness.
We want to know what current tools and processes you have in place or have carried out in the development of your innovation, and ask you to share this as part of the EOI. We want you to be honest and open about what you currently have in place, but we are not looking for you to have everything in place already. In the EOI there is a checklist of types of evidence, simply tick which apply for your innovation.
What types of organisation can apply?
The Savers Support Fund is able to support public services, charities, social enterprises, or partnerships led by these organisations. For-profit organisations may apply if there is a strong argument for public benefit and if they can demonstrate that they require public funds to scale, or if they do so as a partnership with a not-for-profit organisation as the lead applicant.
Do you back individuals?
We can support incorporated entities and unincorporated associations with formal membership structures, but not individuals.
Are faith based organisations eligible to apply?
We welcome applications from faith based organisations, but we cannot fund activity that is inherently religious, such as religious worship, instruction or proselytising.
Are there any other restrictions?
As the Savers Support Fund is part financed by Nesta we can only fund projects which advance our charitable objects for public benefit. We cannot fund projects which are party political, or which support or promote religious activity, and can only fund limited paid for marketing or advertising.
As the fund is part financed by the Office for Civil Society (OCS), grants will come from public funds and must not be used in a way that constitutes unapprovable state aid.
Can organisations apply in partnership or consortia?
Yes, but one partner must act as lead and take responsibility for the others. As part of the EOI, we explicitly require that all partners are aware of the partnership and have agreed to the EOI, even where a formal partnership arrangement is not suitable or not yet in place. We may check in with partners as part of our assessment process.
How many innovations are you looking to work with?
We are looking to work with between four and six innovations.
Can my organisation submit more than one EOI?
Yes. Organisations can submit EOIs for different ventures or programmes. However, we will assess organisational capacity to carry out multiple streams of work when selecting organisations to progress to the next stage.
If my EOI is not successful can I get feedback?
We anticipate a high volume of applications and so will not be issuing individual feedback. We will publish some summary feedback in the round though.
Why is the Savers Support Fund restricted to England?
Whilst Nesta works across the UK, the Savers Support Fund is a partnership with the OCS , which has responsibility for social action in England only. While applicants can be established in any part of the UK, the benefits from the proposals should be in England only.
When is the deadline for completing the EOI form?
The deadline for the EOI is midday 29 March 2017.
Do we need to have match funding secured in order to submit an EOI?
We require organisations/partnerships to provide at least 33 per cent match funding for this fund. While you do not need to show this funding has been secured at the EOI stage, you should have a clear sense of what match funding or in-kind funding (such as staffing or systems) you could contribute.
What are the timescales for the fund?
Thursday 16 February 2017 - Expression of interest open
Midday 29 March 2017 - Expressions of interest close
Tuesday 2 May 2017 - Shortlisted Applicant Workshop
Shortlisted applicants from the EOI stage will be invited to develop proposals and apply for the fund in full; with a view to award grants to the best of the full applications in July 2017.
What are the timescales for the delivery of the work if we are successful in our application?
You are welcome to apply for funding to support a 12 to 18-month project to grow your work, commencing from August 2017. We hope this project will have a catalysing impact on your future growth and so would want to be assured at full proposal stage that it is part of your longer term growth strategy to scale.
If our EOI and proposal is successful how long do we have to spend the funding?
The fund is scheduled to end December 2018 and funding milestones will be designed to end within this timeframe.