Comic Relief with Paul Hamlyn Foundation will launch the next round of their joint UK Tech for Good funding programme in January 2021. This is the final round of funding in their 3-year Tech for Good partnership.

The Tech for Good programme was developed in response to the need for charities to use technology to explore different approaches to delivering better services.

The COVID-19 crisis has since increased the need for organisations to explore how digital and design approaches can be used to create more impact for the people they work with.

The Tech for Good 2021 ‘Build’ programme will enable organisations to explore how digital and design approaches can be used to create more impact for the people they work with.

Applications that want to adapt or re-purpose existing technology to increase impact in their service delivery are also actively encouraged as the re-use of tools which already exist can be just as important and effective as building something new.

 The programme will aim to fund a portfolio of digital projects at different stages of development. Build is both suitable for organisations at concept stage who are at a very early stage of scoping their idea, as well as for those who have already done some digital development.

This round will fund up to 18 digital projects with investments of up to £70,000 over a period of nine months. This funding is for a combination of supporting your internal delivery costs as well as contracting support from external digital and technical development agencies.

 Applicants should be seeking to work in one or more of Comic Relief’s four core issue areas: Children Survive and Thrive, Global Mental Health Matters, Fighting for Gender Justice or A Safe Place to Be. Comic Relief would also welcome applications addressing challenges related to disability and inclusion outside of the themes specified above, as they understand the critical potential of digital technology in tackling these issues.

This funding aims to provide the opportunity for not-for-profit organisations to take their digital projects forward.

The work to be delivered must take place in the UK and funding is available of up to £70,000. This is intended to be used for a combination of:

  • Paying for existing core costs that are supporting the delivery of the project, plus any eligible new costs associated with it (e.g backfilling salaries for project leads)
  • Sourcing external support from a digital partner
  • Expenditure incurred and activity delivered during the funding period (i.e June 2021-February 2022) I.e not any discovery work prior to applying or follow-on work beyond the 9-month funding period.

The project duration is 9 months. However, it is known that digital development can cause unexpected delays as you explore and iterate on the best possible tools for your users, so there will be a flex period of 1-2 months at the end of this should organisations wish to extend their projects further.

The following will not be funded by the programme:

  • Upgrading of internal IT such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.
  • Large scale capital costs
  • Hardware development
  • Updating websites and routine social media campaigns
  • Exploration events or hack days
  • Staff or volunteer training
  • The development or purchase of monitoring, evaluation, or project management platforms for the benefit of your organisations wider work
  • Buying equipment to get people online.
  • Digital inclusion, digital literacy, or computer skills training.

All applicants must submit proposals consisting of:

  • A short form including a 250-word project summary, explaining what the project is setting out to achieve and how.
  • A video application (maximum of 3 minutes long) explaining your idea, and how it relates to one or more of the design challenges. This is simply a visual version of a traditional written application form making a strong case for funding. They are hoping the video provides a great opportunity to bring your team together (virtually) – and help them have a better understanding of your ideas and approach.

The content of the film is more important than the quality. Comic Relief are very happy with films being created on phones or using basic software by using teams remotely.

Comic relief are currently open to proposals until midday UK time Friday 12th February.

Assessments will be held between the 1st and 19th March and you’ll hear back about the final outcome by 30th April.

More information and how to apply can be found here.

This is the fifth Tech for Good programme run by Comic Relief. Details of all past funded projects can be found at You can also find in-depth case studies of previous projects here; you can find out about Bipolar UK’s digital chatbot service, and AVA’s webtool to help survivors of gender-based abuse.


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