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Digital Fund Weeknotes 01 (5–9th November)

Our first ever Weeknotes, and a good time to start them. I’ve joined the team, we are in the thick of the Digital Fund being open, and there is lots to learn and reflect on.

What we are doing

This week, and likely for the next month until the Digital Fund closes (Dec 3rd) we are spending most of our time reading applications. At the moment there are 4 of us doing this — myself, Joel, Tom and John.

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John and Tom did a brilliant job of getting us ready for this moment.

We’ve got eligibility criteria, shaped by engagement with the sector over the last 9 months, and then a master spreadsheet that we all use to record our scores.

We’ve buddied up so that I’m working with Joel, and Tom is with John. We mark applications independently in our pairs and then come back together so we can compare scores. Where there is a difference of opinion we take that to a “sift” meeting, which all 4 of us have fortnightly.

Over the next few weeks we will also have others from the Big Lottery internal teams around the UK, joining us on secondments. This is partly to help with the delivery of the fund, but also to develop more digital confidence and understanding internally.

What we are learning

As we are reading through applications, it’s obviously really important to document our responses. If it’s a “no” we copy and paste which “success criteria” we don’t feel is evident (this builds consistency of response) and then we also write our own notes. This data is going to be invaluable over time, as it helps us see patterns and will give us insight into what kind of areas charities need further support with. It also helps us see where our eligibility criteria need greater explanation and where we might want to revise and adapt the fund when it opens again in the new year.

So far the data is showing us that we need to post some more examples of what “good” looks like, especially for Strand 1 of the fund. We will be working on this over the next few days.

I’m interested in how we can be as transparent as possible in terms of our decision making. It’s what I heard people want when they apply for funding. It’s also a reason for doing these Week Notes, sharing our thinking and learning as we go.

What we are celebrating

This week I think we’re simply celebrating that the fund is open, we’re starting to work as a team, we’ve had lots of applications, and some great applications for secondees from across the fund.

BTW, I found this a good blog post to read to refresh my thoughts about why doing Weeknotes is a good thing to do. Alongside the Doteveryone blog about what a digital organisation looks like.

Written by

Senior Head, UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund & Co-founder of the Point People. Previously Strategic Design Director at Doteveryone.

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