We’ve seen projects make a positive impact more quickly when grant funding comes packaged alongside expertise and support. In particular, guidance in user-led and test-driven digital development which ensures grantees’ digital creations respond to real needs and behaviours in their communities, and supporting teams to develop strategies for sustainability and growth.

We always tailor our support depending on the grant fund and the needs of the grantees, based on assessments as detailed above. We find a cohort approach is particularly effective, as learning is heightened through peer learning and sharing, and participants build/extend their networks in an organic way. Cohort support also helps build capacity and connections within organisations for a time after the funding period.

“I found the 1-1 support and the peer to peer the most useful part of the overall support from the programme. It was great to connect and speak to others who are on the ground delivering projects.Richard Powers, Club & Community Manager, England Boxing - CAST and Sport England Innovation & Digital Accelerator

"While we could articulate our need, the idea of creating a digital strategy for the organisation seemed overwhelming. The DDC programme held our hand and supported us to not only create the document but also shift the organisational culture. It's a great combination of 121 support and group learning." Jude Williams, Literacy Pirates - Deloitte Digital Connect

A typical programme would include:

  • Facilitated peer learning sessions to reinforce service design principles and provide specific help with grantee projects
  • Specific digital and service design workshops to support project development
  • Ongoing, regular 1-1 coaching with each grantee to reinforce service design principles and provide specific help with grantee projects
  • Access to online resources to support learning
  • Continuous feedback to grant managers and the wider funding team on how the cohort is progressing.
  • Access to our exclusive Digital Leads Network - a place to meet other Digital Leads in the sector and find peer support through meet-ups, access to experts through master classes and a dedicated free advice service pairing members with experts in the field on requested topics.

Our experience

Some examples of Funder Plus programmes - past and present:

  • Sport England Innovation & Digital Accelerator: supporting National Governing Bodies to harness the power and flexibility of digital and design, to help more people from more communities access and enjoy sport.
  • Deloitte Digital Connect: helping charities and social enterprises make progress on an existing digital project or challenge, by putting their beneficiaries at the heart of the solution. Shortlisted for CSR Project of the Year, Charity Times Awards 2023.
  • Community Explore: supporting community businesses to undertake user research and explore a challenge they have identified, and the opportunity community technology presents to tackle that challenge.
  • Catalyst and The National Lottery Community Fund COVID-19 Digital Response: support organisations in meeting the increasing demands for digital transformation against the backdrop of the pandemic.
  • Tech for Good: supporting charities to develop new or improved digital services that were socially responsible, and based on test-driven and user-centred approaches.
  • Tech for Good Build: supporting nonprofits to define, develop or re-purpose digital tools, platforms and products that meet a social need or challenge.
  • Tech vs Abuse: supporting charities to develop digital services to tackle issues around domestic violence and abuse, whilst minimising the associated risks.
  • Digital Campus: Partnering with Refugee Action, we’re currently running a version of Digital Campus, a bespoke progressive learning programme that covers skills, project-based training, masterclasses and routes into further networking and learning opportunities.

Quantitative impact: what do the stats say?

Innovation and Digital Accelerator - end of programme survey responses (2023)

  • 100% of surveyed respondents stated that their project will contribute or has already contributed towards improved engagement with underrepresented groups
  • 100% learned new digital and innovation tools, skills and processes
  • 89% felt more confident leading digital projects
  • 89% learned essential user-centred design approaches to bring into their work

Deloitte - end of programme survey responses (2023)

  • 100% of surveyed participants rated the peer support sessions as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’
  • 100% stated that they are learning from people outside their organisation and feel supported by others
  • 96% stated that they had learned basic user-centred design approaches to bring into their work via the programme
  • 93% stated that they had learned the foundations of developing a digital strategy

Qualitative impact: what do participants say?

We interviewed participants on completion of the Innovation and Digital Accelerator and Deloitte Digital Connect programmes, to find out what they’d learned, any challenges they’d faced, key breakthrough moments — and the advice they’d give to anyone embarking on a similar programme. Experience the programmes through the lens of those that participated, by taking a look at the Q&A pieces below.

CAST and Sport England Innovation & Digital Accelerator:

Deloitte Digital Connect:

What does it mean for the wider sector?

The Funder Plus model offers value that extends beyond those participating in the programme itself, and radiates out to the whole sector, thus providing far greater social value and return on investment. We make every effort to share learnings, resources and perspectives from every lens, to help not just the social sector but the wider support infrastructure - see some examples of the ways we do this below:

We will happily share details of the full comms support we provide for Funder Plus programmes if useful. Please get in touch at [email protected].