Bid development, programme delivery, capacity building and learning partner
In 2021, Co-op Foundation was awarded a continuation grant of $675,000 from Luminate, following a successful funding bid prepared in collaboration with Paper Frogs.
Developing the bid
Paper Frogs grounded the Federation Programme bid in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which describe how the impact of digital technology can help make the world fairer but also recognise that it can also threaten privacy and fuel inequity. They highlight that those who are not digitally engaged remain further behind and this disproportionately affects women, elderly people and people with disabilities as well as those from ethnic minorities amongst others.
The two-year Federation Programme aimed to support civic sector organisations and groups working to challenge the ways in which technology and data can reinforce existing inequalities and to uphold data and digital rights. These are human rights experienced through the lens of digital products and services, for example the right to privacy, to healthcare or to education.
The programme had three areas of focus:
Capacity building – this was about supporting social enterprises, charities and purpose-driven organisations and communities to grow the impact of their work through developing and strengthening skills, processes or resources, enabling them to grow or become more sustainable.
Community building – strengthening communities to drive meaningful change in the digital technology space.
Collective action – collaborating with Greater Manchester leaders and the digital technology community to understand how technology can be designed or used in a more ethical way to tackle inequality, put society first, tackle the erosion of rights and trust, and increase the impact of the Responsible Tech Collective.
Delivering the programme
Paper Frogs led on capacity building and programme delivery, as well as providing comms and community engagement services. As part of this we identified and partnered with recognised experts, to design and deliver an adaptable programme that was tailored to the needs of the funded partners, whilst working closely in collaboration with Co-op Foundation.
Our capacity building programme was shaped around the needs of the funded partners, with insight gained from workshops and 1 to 1 interviews. It focused on:
Building skills and understanding around developing a theory of change and using it as a basis for measuring impact
Winning tenders and bids
Funder horizon scanning and insight
One to one business mentoring
Paper Frogs worked closely with Amity, a community building partner, to develop and deliver a community sustaining programme. We also led on activities to strengthen relationships through social and wellbeing activities (e.g. a foraging walk) and crafting a care-ful ending for the programme that celebrated its impact and the achievements of the funded partners.
Evaluating and sharing the learning
The Federation Programme was aiming for 90% of the supported ethical enterprises to identify progress towards their organisation’s financial sustainability, social impact and/or innovation. A final evaluation survey revealed that 89% of funded partners considered they had made progress towards financial stability. 100% considered that the Federation Programme and its associated networks had helped them to progress their social impact or innovation.
Paper Frogs’ support for collective action included developing the narrative, building funding cases and exploring partnerships for the Responsible Tech Collective (RTC), in partnership with systemic change agency Noisy Cricket. Through this we were successful in attaining a Simon Industrial and Professional Fellowship at University of Manchester, and a highly competitive UKRI award to explore creation of a Community Research Network focusing on community engagement.
“Our partnership with Paper Frogs was genuinely collaborative and built on openness and trust. They had incredible sector expertise and network connections which helped the Co-op Foundation to deliver a successful programme and gather reusable insight for the future. Paper Frogs went above and beyond as a delivery partner co-creating the funding calls and award criteria alongside us to meet the aims of the programme, and taking into consideration our ethos and wider strategy. They demonstrated outstanding energy, expertise and an enduring commitment to the importance of the Federation programme in helping to tackle inequality in an increasingly digital world. The impact of the programme exceeded expectations,” Charlotte Wilson, Funding & Partnerships Manager, Co-op Foundation.
Image: Linda Humphries, CEO of Paper Frogs talking with members of the Federation community. Photo reproduced with permission of Co-op Foundation.