Home Call for Applications The Tech for Good program 2021

The Tech for Good program 2021

by Adeshola Dahunsi

Application Deadline: Friday 12th February 2021 at 12 GMT (noon)

Comic Relief with Paul Hamlyn Foundation will launch the next round of their joint UK Tech for Good funding program in January 2021. This is the final round of funding in the 3-year Tech for Good partnership.

The Tech for Good program was developed in response to the need for charities to use technology to explore different approaches to delivering better services.

The COVID-19 crisis has since increased the need for organisations to explore how digital and design approaches can be used to create more impact for the people they work with.

The Tech for Good 2021 ‘Build’ program will enable organizations or partnerships to define, test and develop digital solutions over nine months that meet a social need or challenge.

Applications that want to adapt or re-purpose existing technology to increase impact in their service delivery are also actively encouraged; we know that re-use of tools which already exist can be just as important and effective as building something new.

The programme will aim to fund a portfolio of digital projects at different stages of development. Build is suitable for both organisations at concept stage who are at a very early stage of scoping their idea, as well as for those who have already done some digital development.

This round will fund up to 18 digital projects with investments of up to £70,000 over a period of nine months. This funding is for a combination of supporting your internal delivery costs as well as contracting support from external digital and technical development agencies.

Applicants should be seeking to work in one or more of Comic Relief’s four core issue areas: Children Survive and Thrive, Global Mental Health Matters, Fighting for Gender Justice, or A Safe Place to Be. Comic Relief would also welcome applications addressing challenges related to disability and inclusion outside of the themes specified above, as we understand the critical potential of digital technology in tackling these issues.


This programme aims to provide the opportunity for not-for-profit organisations to take their digital projects forward.

This funding is most suitable for organisations or partnerships that have undertaken a small amount of early stage discovery work.
Discovery is the process of exploring and surfacing a problem area, for example, through consultation with the people affected by that problem, before moving onto developing and testing solutions. There will still be space to do further discovery and exploration work to validate your approach as part of your initial progress on the programme.

It is known that ‘good’ digital development does not only signify innovation; Comic Relief will welcome applications that explores how you can use technology to create more impact in the work you’re already doing. This could include but is not limited to:

  • Using your existing idea, research or discovery you’ve completed so far, to define and develop an MVP is the earliest functional version of your digital solution or tool that you can get ready for testing with your users.
  • Adapting or re-using an existing tool, platform or product for you or your sectors’ needs. For example, this could be an off-the-shelf piece of technology that you need funding to adapt to your context to create a meaningful impact on your service delivery.
  • Innovative back-end solutions for staff or practitioners. By this, we mean products that your beneficiaries do not necessarily see or use; but data-led or design ideas for your internal systems that could lead to significant improvements in service delivery
  • Further testing, building, or scaling of an existing MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that you have developed. You will need to be clear in your application about how you will use this funding to take a significant digital step forward.
  • Applying with other organisations in your sector to develop a digital response to a problem that affects your service delivery area as a whole

Comic Relief is taking a flexible approach to funding social tech: Comic Relief knows the importance of creating space to pause, reflect, learn and adapt in developing social tech solutions. Pivoting your work based on what data and evidence is telling you is a positive. Equally, while Comic Relief will not fund external evaluations as part of this project, Comic Relief will support you to give consideration to how you will monitor progress throughout the project and consider what success will look like at certain points along the journey.

A wide range of digital interventions will be considered and our aim is to fund projects and organisations that:

  • Are focused on specific and clear user needs in their design, delivery and development
  • Demonstrate a clear purpose for the use of tech and why it would be meaningful in your organisation
  • Must be able to demonstrate resource and buy-in at senior and organisational level to manage and deliver the project you are proposing
  • Must have adequate time budgeted for your project lead to participate in the program
  • Demonstrate the enthusiasm to engage with a collaborative cohort of funded partners.
  • Make best use of existing technology

Are sharable with other parts of the not-for-profit sector

Eligibility Requirements:

Organisational Criteria;

  • Applicants must be based in the UK, for work to be carried out in the UK
  • Applicants must have an income of between £75,000 and £10 million
  • Applicants must be not-for-profit organisations. Additionally, we do not accept proposals from NHS trusts, hospitals, schools/colleges, statutory bodies including local authorities, and non-registered organisations without constitutions
  • Applicants do not need to have a tech development partner on board at the time of application. If you don’t have a tech partner, make sure you ring-fence some of your budget to be used for this for when you need to contract a development partner. You will receive support for doing this once the programme has kicked off (See the Guidance document(opens in new window) for more details).
  • Where present, the tech partner cannot be the lead applicant or investment holder if successful i.e. they will act as a support function but should not have responsibility for managing the investment and the project
  • Organisations with an existing Comic Relief investment can apply as can holders of a previous Tech for Good or Tech vs Abuse investment, although proposals must clearly outline how they significantly build on work previously funded
  • Organisations can submit more than one proposal to the initiative and tech development partners can be associated with more than one bid
  • All applicants must identify a project sponsor at senior level i.e. CEO, who will participate in check-in sessions and workshops throughout the programme
  • People Centred: our partners should demonstrate a commitment to putting the people they seek to serve at the heart of their decision making. This means that we work with organisations who can evidence input from, and accountability to those they work on behalf of.

Project Criteria;

The work to be delivered must take place in the UK (the work can have a local, regional, national or UK-wide reach)

Funding is available for up to £70,000. This is intended to be used for a combination of:

  • Paying for existing core costs that are supporting the delivery of this project, plus any eligible new costs associated with it (e.g. backfilling salaries for project leads)
  • Sourcing external support from a digital partner
  • Funding can only cover expenditure incurred and activity delivered during the funding period (i.e. June 2021– February 2022), I.e. not any discovery work prior to applying or follow-on work beyond the 9-month funding period
  • The project duration is 9 months. Comic Relief knows that digital development can cause unexpected delays as you explore and iterate on the best possible tool for your users, so there will be a flex period of 1-2 months at the end of this should organisations wish to extend their projects further.

All applicants must submit proposals consisting of:

  • A short form including a 250-word project summary, explaining what the project is setting out to achieve and how
  • A video application (maximum of 3 minutes long). explaining your idea, and how it relates to one or more of the design challenges. This is simply a visual version of a traditional written application form making a strong case for funding. We hope the video provides a great opportunity to bring your team together (if virtually) – and it helps us better understand your ideas and approach.
  • The content of the film is more important than the quality. We are very happy with films created on phones or using basic software, by teams working remotely.
  • More detailed guidance about what to include in the video can be found in the Guidance Notes, which is available at this link(opens in new window). Videos will be kept private and will not be shared further without the permission of the applicant.
  • A project budget
  • Some brief additional information about your organisation, safeguarding processes, as well as information about the team involved in your project

Comic Relief will be open for proposals from Thursday 7th January to midday UK time Friday 12th February. We will not accept late proposals and strongly urge that you address any questions you have in order to complete your proposal and submit it in advance of the deadline.

Further information on the Tech for Good programme can be found at techforgoodhub.co.uk


Apply Now

Official Website: Comic Relief

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