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Digital Fund Weeknotes 09 (7th — 11th January)

First, a few events for your diary. I’ll be speaking next Wednesday evening at the Tech For Good meetup in London about the changing nature of tech for good and the funding ecosystem. Anyone can join.

In February I’m speaking at the Funders Learn Tech event, solely for funders, about the learning coming out of the Digital Fund. You can sign up here.

What we are doing

There is very little new to report this week. We’ve been either scoring applications or doing phone calls with applicants that have gone through to the next stage. One by one this week, each of the team has completed reading 400 applications. And there have been numerous GIF’s appearing in our Teams channel.

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We’ve been 3 different teams of 2 people, with each team member reading 400 applications.

What we are learning

Some people might be interested in the numbers so far. These are estimates.

Out of the 1200 applications we’ve received, we’ll be putting forward about 200 for phone calls (40 of which we’ve already done).

That’s 1000 applications we aren’t taking further. We are working out how we can respond to this.

Out of the 1200 applications, we have 92 applications where within each team of two people they’ve independently given the application a different score. Where there is this difference of opinion, we take the application into a Sift meeting with the whole team of 7, and make a decision that way.

So far out of the phone calls we’ve done (about 40), there is only 1 post-call scoring where there is a difference of opinion, and again, we take this into a whole team discussion.

Now the scoring is nearly all done (our team deadline is Monday), we are heading off to Newcastle on Tuesday and Wednesday next week to spend some concentrated time together. Tuesday will be one long Sift meeting and then on the Wednesday we will be preparing for the next phase of work. This will include a session on the experience design for applicants being invited to submit a full proposal — and the different roles we will all take in that. More on that next week.

We’ll also have a dedicated hour solely to download some initial insights from the 400 applications we’ve each read. I’ve asked each member of the team to prepare in advance a 3 minute presentation, on what they’ve learnt — any patterns they’ve spotted, the opportunities they’ve seen and anything else that has surprised them — and to share these with the rest of us. We also plan to film them, primarily to share with the wider organisation (thank you Julia for the film idea), but some might even appear here next week!

What we’re celebrating

We are definitely celebrating getting through the applications.

We also have someone new joining the team next week. Livia is coming on board to help with some administrative aspects of the work, but most importantly, is bringing her expertise in social research to do some proper analysis on all the applications. This will help us make sure the data and learning turns in to something really useful, for the sector, but also our own internal strategy.

Lastly, I was grateful for a call with Lucy this week. She is the Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab at Standford and holds a wealth of knowledge about philanthropy, civil society and digital. I’ve joined the Advisory Group for their “Mapping the policy infrastructure of digital civil society” work and will be going out there in May to take part in some workshops. If you haven’t already, it’s worth reading Lucy’s annual Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint 2019.

Run UK Portfolio at National Lottery Community Fund, Co-founder of the Point People, Policy Fellow IIPP, Founder Stewarding Loss, International Futures Forum.

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