A new Digital Grant Delivery project that aims to transform the way communities access funding was unveiled this week at a webinar attended by funders from the charity, public and corporate sectors.
The project is a joint initiative of the UK's leading community platform Do IT and FinTech start up Lightning Social Ventures supported by Do IT Foundation. It has received backing from the government's Innovate UK fund to support Covid-19 recovery.
The Digital Grant Delivery project has been developed in response to the pressures that Covid-19 has placed on charity and voluntary services as they face greater needs in the communities that they serve. Funders in turn have reported up to a ten-fold increase in demand for their help, yet many are struggling to deliver financial aid at scale to organisations and individuals who need it most, at the speed required.
The project partners will build a system to make it easy for any grant giver to make payments quickly and securely and enable individuals and organisations to apply for funding via a mobile, tablet or pc. The system will offer modules for funders to verify an applicant's identity and financial need, to enable speedy applications, approvals and payment processes as well as helping those that do not have bank accounts by offering virtual debit cards pre-charged with the funds required.
Responding to a marked increase in Covid related funding fraud the system also aims to support full payments traceability so funders can see how their grants have been spent.
Do IT's CEO George Grima said,
"We are at a new and exciting part of the Do IT journey - to become the digital rails upon which civil society can flourish. We have built an entirely new platform that makes it even easier for people and organisations to come together to do good things and be happier and healthier as a result and now we can make it far simpler for communities to access the much needed funds they need during this challenging time."
Lightning Social Venture's CEO Ren Yi Hooi said,
"Funders currently lack quick, secure and transparent delivery mechanisms to meet the unprecedented demand for financial support caused by Covid-19.We are excited to have the opportunity to build a system that will hopefully transform millions of lives by enabling financially vulnerable people to receive funds, recover from shocks and ultimately strengthen financial resilience. This is core to our mission at Lightning Social Ventures."
Do IT Foundation's CEO Jamie Ward-Smith said,
"This system will be a game changer for funders, enabling them to get grant aid out quickly and efficiently whilst retaining full oversight of how it's spent. I'm especially excited about the potential for micro organisations, currently too often excluded from small grant opportunities caused by complicated application processes and lack of availability due to high overheads for funders tied to manual processes. This system has the potential to completely overturn the funding landscape for these groups and I'm confident it will make a big difference."
Innovate UK’s Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said,
“In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy. The Digital Grant Delivery Project, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”
The Digital Grant Delivery project will launch in early 2021 and is currently inviting funders to take part in a testing pilot phase. To get involved and to find out more about the project please register your details here or download our brochure.
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