Innovation In Giving

Mencap: Kids for Good

Mencap, the voice of people with learning disabilities, planned to partner with JustGiving to launch a new platform  to re-ignite giving by school children, their families and friends.

Mencap’s income from schools fundraising has dropped 74% in the last seven years. In addition, their donor base is ageing: 93.9% of donors responding to their appeals are 45 or above, which reflects wider trends in the charitable sector.

The idea:

Mencap planned to address this challenge through a new online sponsorship platform intended to be built upon JustGiving’s existing technology – but designed especially for children. It aimed to provide children with a fun, easy and safe way to raise sponsorship from friends and family, and would be available to all charities, youth groups, clubs and schools to use.

However, the team tested the idea in a range of focus groups with teachers, parents and the public and found that evidence from the focus groups was not favourable towards the idea of a schools giving platform. The team looked at other options to develop the digital platform idea in alternative ways, but couldn’t find a solution that worked for the target user group; they also experienced a setback in that their preferred technology partnership did not go ahead as originally planned.

After looking into a range of options to pursue a digital giving platform of some kind, Mencap decided to go back to the drawing board and look afresh at their schools fundraising offer, drawing from some of the alternative ideas that came from the original focus group research. These alternative ideas included making much more of the Mencap Ambassadors – service users or beneficiaries from a younger age group who could actually go into schools and help raise understanding of Mencap’s work.

Mencap and Nesta talked these developments over and agreed that the ideas were not going to work within the Open Innovation timeline, so completed the formal contract but kept in touch informally. The Mencap team agreed to share learning from this experience in a video interview hosted on the Nesta Vimeo channel.

The award

Mencap were originally awarded £120,000 to support the development of ‘Kids for Good’ including dedicated project management, contributions to overheads and other staff time, research, product development and launch costs. However, because the project didn’t go beyond the scoping stage, the award was reduced to £30,000 to cover the development and scoping phase of the work.

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