Accelerating technology to support grant applications
Marcelle Speller knows the power of technology platforms to aggregate information for buyers and sellers. She formerly founded Holidayrentals.com and since leaving the company in 2005 has been working on her original philanthropic project: Localgiving.com, which enables small local charities to raise money.
How can philanthropists utilise technology?
Through this experience, she saw first-hand the challenges small charities face when making multiple funding applications. This spurred her to a bigger goal – a platform that can streamline into one single place grant applications and assessments. This new platform is called Brevio.
Brevio’s solution is a standard grant application form which charities fill in just once. Funders enter the criteria for their funds into Brevio. Then Brevio automatically matches the charity to the funds for which it is eligible.
“My goal is to align all grant applications onto one platform where the basics do not have to be repeated for each application,” she says.
She was galvanised by original market testing that showed staff costs for applying for grants in registered charities are around £1.1 billion per year. This excludes the time of trustees and unpaid volunteers. Worse still, an average of 66% of these applications fail, resulting in net wastage of £726 million in annual staff costs across the charity sector.
That was 18 months ago. Right now, the COVID crisis has made this situation worse. If every registered charity has to fill in just one extra application form for COVID, the total extra cost this year alone is £53 million.
“The charity sector cannot afford this kind of waste, especially now,” she says.
As a result, Brevio has been brought online ahead of schedule. Marcelle’s original plan was to pilot with one or two grant makers from March 2020.
The early launch has involved an avalanche of testing and tweaking to make sure the site functions perfectly. She has doubled the team and connected with first-movers to support the launch. She has also waived the membership fee for charities, making the platform free until May 1st 2021 and for grant-makers until January 1st 2021.
Marcelle has not just funded the development of the platform personally, she has also helped to lead its design and development alongside her appointed CEO, and used her networks to promote the use of the platform.
“I know technology reduces waste from my experience in business. The same can be true for the charity sector and this is a tool for charities and grant makers to work together to solve this problem.”
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