Step 5: Manage the donations
Once you have done the hard work to secure donations (either funds or digital devices), it is time to distribute them to those most in need in your community.
- Should we use the funds raised through crowdfunding to give grants to local community groups?
- If we give grants, what should the eligibility criteria and application process be?
- Who will decide which organisations receive the grants?
- Which residents are eligible to receive the devices donated through our crowdsourcing campaign?
- Should we partner with a VCS organisation or other community group to distribute the devices donated or do it ourselves?
How to distribute your raised funds via grants
- Set up an expression of interest form for the grants where local VCS organisations can provide a quick outline of the type of support they could provide if funding was available.
- Determine the eligibility criteria for the grant.
- Create a simple application process for grant distributions.
- Publish the application process and eligibility criteria well in advance.
- Establish a small but representative panel that can quickly evaluate and decide which projects should receive the grants, so that funding can be released quickly and effectively (remember that improper vetting of applicants may leave your organisation vulnerable to scams or fraud).
How to distribute sourced devices
- Set clear eligibility criteria for residents who wish to receive a device, including any savings thresholds.
- Assess applications on a first-come, first-served basis or prioritise applications based on a pre-identified need (e.g. recipients of free school meals).
- Publicise the eligibility criteria and the application process well in advance using existing community connections, such as libraries, schools, VCS organisations and community groups.
- Set up a simple application process – if using online applications, ensure that support from libraries and adult education centres or drop in sessions are available.
- Explore whether a single collection and drop off point for donated devices or multiple points is the best option based on the resources you have available.
- Offer additional support (e.g. digital skills training, Wi-Fi connectivity) to ensure the devices are used.
- Avoid or reduce complaints from residents by publishing the reasons behind the scheme’s eligibility criteria from the start.
- Reduce the risk of fraud by working with Legal and Finance colleagues within your organisation to develop key funding criteria for receiving a grant and required supporting documentation. You might find this guide to grant applications from Lambeth Council useful.
- Work with ICT colleagues to develop a set of minimum criteria for donated devices before setting up the scheme. This will help maximise the reusability of donated devices.
- Ensure some form of data/connectivity is provided alongside the device (or signpost to free local Wi-Fi spots). Social value contributions might be one option for achieving this.