Applications open for £5m digital fund for charities

Charities are being invited to bid for a £5m fund to improve their digital response to Covid-19.

The emergency funding has been made available through the National Lottery Community Fund and distribributed with the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) with support from Catalyst, an initiative set up to boost the charity sector’s digital development.

This fund is offering grants and support of up to £60,000 to charities in England looking to develop their online capabilities.

It “is aimed at organisations whose work has been affected by Covid-19 and who need emergency funding to continue to deliver essential services”, according to Catalyst.

“It will support them to develop the digital, data and design capabilities that allow them to address urgent issues and serve the most vulnerable. This funding is a combination of direct grants and payment for support from digital agencies,” Catalyst added.

Discovery and development programmes

The funding is broken up into two streams.

The first called the discovery programme focuses on digital learning and development.

This offers four weeks of funding and support as part of a cohort of between eight and ten organisations that have a similar level of digital capabilities.

It involves working with a digital partner to offer detailed support and successful applicants will receive a £5,000 grant to cover the cost of staff to work on the programme for 20 days.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 7 September. Successful applicants will hear back by 18 September.

The second is a development programme. Those bidding have to show that they have already been on a ‘discovery’ process with their digital capabilities and are looking to move to the development stage.

This involves 10 weeks of funding and support and up to £60,000 is on offer, through a mix of grant funding and help from a digital agency or expert.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 20 September. Successful applicants will beak back by 1-2 October.

Covid-19 has accelerated a move to digital among charities this year. This includes pivoting in-person fundraising online as well as ramping up cyber security as more charity staff work from home.

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