November 29, 2017 : David McNeill

Have you got a problem we could help solve using tech?

Comic Relief have just opened applications for their third round of the Tech for Good Programme. This aims to support organisations to develop or scale digital solutions which deliver new or improved services to beneficiaries. Funding for up to 12 projects, each with grants of up to £47,000 will be available.

In the previous round, Shelter Scotland was awarded a grant to develop the ‘I Need Help’ button for their website. This aims to provide immediate help for people in crisis and facing homelessness in Scotland by guiding them to support close to them.

Other projects have included:

  • The Wayfindr Open Standard which helps people with visual impairments navigate indoors independently using audio guidance from their smartphones.
  • The Night Stop app which aims to increase the availability of hosts to provide homes for homeless young people.
  • The Alexandra Rose scheme which provides digital vouchers to low income households which can be redeemed for fruit and vegetable vouchers at local food markets.

All these projects, and others showcased on the Tech for Good hub, take a specific problem faced by people or an organisation and identify where web, mobile or internet based technology might solve the problem or provide a solution that works at greater scale than current processes.

We’re keen to see more digital innovation in Scotland’s third sector. However, from conversations with funders, we’re aware that there have been limited applications from Scotland to previous tech for good and digital innovation funds.

One of the key challenges for organisations in successfully applying for these funds is the need to have a project team with digital development skills on board at the start. We know that few organisations in Scotland have these skills in house. At SCVO, we are lucky to have a skilled development team and want to support our members to apply. We’d therefore be delighted to explore how we might provide support for an application.

Why do we want to do that?

  • Building on the 2016, Call to Action to Create a Digitally Confident Third Sector in Scotland, we want to support more organisations to develop digital services, where appropriate.
  • We do not want to become an agency, building specific digital products for other organisations, but do want to encourage a culture of sharing and reuse in digital development in the third sector (including open source development and open data).
  • We want to identify specific problems and user needs that could be solved by a digital solution. A ‘sector wide’ solution is likely to be too broad to fit with aims of the Tech for Good programme. Therefore, we’d want to provide assistance to develop a specific solution, and explore how that might be adapted for other organisations or parts of the sector.

So, have you got a concrete problem or user need that might be solved using technology? Drop me an email, give me a call or message me on Twitter to have a conversation about how we might help support your application.

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by David McNeill