FAQ - Who we are
At Nominet Trust, we harness new possibilities presented by the internet to seek out, galvanise and nurture the untapped potential of grass-roots social action that empowers people to change the world and their own lives in beneficial ways.
To find out a little more about our work, watch this short film.
You should apply for the amount of funding needed to deliver the phase of your project that is described in your application, also taking into consideration the availability of match funding and other sources of support. However, each of our investment programmes specify a maximum grant size that will be considered; please refer to the details of the investment programme to which you are applying for this information.
The majority of ventures we invest in are UK-based. However, we will consider applications from overseas ventures if they clearly demonstrate how they will address social challenges faced in the UK.
We will fund the costs of staff directly involved in delivering a project e.g. project managers, designers, developers or marketeers. We do not provide funding to cover organisational running costs unconnected to the project e.g. rent, utilities, accountant or legal.
We will give consideration to funding requests to cover hardware, software or connectivity costs - but only if they are fundamental to successful project delivery. In this case, any hardware, software or connectivity costs should form only a small percentage of the overall investment, and your applications should provide transparent details on all such costs. Hardware or infrastructure procurement projects will not be considered.
As a learning organisation that seeks to support the innovative application of digital technology, we rarely fund projects involving a website build or website enhancements. If, however, you can demonstrate that your venture will deliver significant and innovative functionality, it will be considered. In addition, we will only accept applications for website funding if your project’s objectives are consistent with our areas of focus and your organisation meets our funding guidelines.
Please refer to the details of the investment programme you are applying for, as these specify the maximum duration of the funding provided. We place a high value on projects that can demonstrate that they have a sustainability plan that allows them to maintain, or increase, momentum beyond the period of our support.
While match-funding is not a pre-requisite, it can significantly strengthen your proposal. As part of our decision-making process, we will look at whether other funders have already been involved in your project, are currently engaged, or have been approached as potential funders.
Yes, as long as it is completely unrelated and tackling a different social challenge. Please bear in mind that you will need to complete the application process again and we make no guarantee that your application will be successful.
We work with all our projects to help develop a roadmap beyond our funding period. As a result of this process, a small number of projects have in the past been invited to apply for additional funding.
Not necessarily. The level of investment awarded is sometimes different from that requested. This can be for a number of reasons (beside our own budget constraints). For example, you may have included items in your budget (e.g. hardware or organisational overheads) that we do not fund, we may think there are opportunities to deliver your project more cost effectively, or we may feel that you could seek match-funding for some of the costs.
Where we feel the amount of investment needs to be reconsidered, one of our team will usually get in touch to discuss your application and review the alternative options available.
- Team with an idea that has already (in some way) been tested
- Previous seed funding/development to have tested a basic digital prototype
- An aspiration to address a social challenge through the use of digital technology beyond this funding
- An understanding of how this approach is different from (and builds upon) existing ways of addressing the social challenge
- Commitment to testing and developing your approach
- Openness – are you willing to share your progress, failures and (if appropriate) resources widely?
- A clear way of developing the product/activity within a year
Our strong preference is to receive applications from teams, rather than individuals. If you are an individual, you can apply for funding but, should you be successful; you will be required to form a registered legal entity before you can receive your first payment.
Find out more about our eligibility criteria.
We are unable to support ventures that are so early stage that they have not yet developed a digital prototype, nor have tested the appetite or demand for their initiative with stakeholder groups. We recommend that ventures at this early stage should first gain the support of an accelerator or incubator before applying to Nominet Trust.
If you want just to add digital to existing services to make them more efficient or cost-effective, then we are not the funder for you. As a learning organisation, we are seeking ventures with ambition to achieve social innovation with technology, particularly projects that make imaginative use of technology to re-think a specific social challenge.
We invest in projects which most closely align to our areas of focus. In all cases projects must demonstrate how digital technology can be used innovatively and disruptively to improve the lives of individuals and communities. Details of projects we have supported can be found in the What We Support section of our website.
Each year, we receive many more applications than we are able to fund so, before submitting your application, make sure you refer to the all of the information in the How to Apply section of our website to check that we are the right funder for you – and to make sure you describe your project to us as effectively as possible.
Please refer to our Eligibility section for the latest information.
We are seeking applications from the following:
· Entrepreneurs, teams or organisations who want to apply their talent and technology to address UK social issues;
· Start ups, early-stage ventures or teams working within an existing large organisation and looking to develop a radically new approach.
We are unable to fund organisations that represent a political party or political lobbying groups.
The term ‘prototype’ can be used by different people to refer to different things. What Nominet Trust is looking for from Social Tech Seed applications is evidence of a working digital product. The product will often be in the early stage of development, perhaps based on open source technology or built on existing platforms, with limited functionality and require significant further development – however, it will have produced evidence of:
- Feasibility – evidence that your proposal is technically feasibility i.e. it can be built, replicated and made to work in real world settings
- Demand – evidence that there is a demand for your proposal from its intended users
Ideally, Nominet Trust is looking for applications where a functioning digital prototype has been tested with real users, and this process has started to generate evidence of demand and actionable feedback.
Please refer to our investment programmes for all information on the latest call for applications. If we do not currently have an open call, please sign up for our email newsletter to receive further information about our next call.
Note that it can take four months from when we receive your Stage 1 application form until a final decision on funding is reached. Please take this into account when planning your project.
All applications not submitted by the deadline will have their status set as completed and no further action will be taken with them. You can view your application history at any point by logging into your online account; however this is for information purposes only and future applications will require you to start a new form.
If you are invited to complete the Stage 2 application form, but miss the deadline, we will update the status of your application to completed and no further action will be taken. Should you wish to apply again in our next investment round, you will need to start again at Stage 1.
If you think you have a project that Nominet Trust would be interested in funding, then you can apply using our online application process. We have a two-stage application process. Stage 1 allows you to describe the key features of your project and what you hope to achieve via a relatively short and straightforward online form and a short (max 3 minute) video.
The projects we feel align closely with our aims and objectives will be invited to complete our Stage 2 application form, which is also online. At Stage 2, you will be able to provide further detail about your venture, including a project budget and plan.
You can check the status of your application at any time by logging into your My Account area on our website.
All application forms received are acknowledged by an automated email. We aim to respond by email to Stage 1 applications 2 weeks after the deadline date. If your Stage 1 application is accepted, we will invite you to submit a detailed and costed Stage 2 application.
You will be notified of the outcome of your Stage 2 application, again via email, shortly after our Board of Trustees' Meeting.
If you have any queries about the progress of your application, you can contact us on 01865 334000 or email: email@example.com
Before your application is presented to our Board of Trustees for consideration, it will have been reviewed by our team. If there are aspects of your application that are unclear, or lacking in detail, we may suggest a meeting or phone call to discuss these. It is also more likely that we will contact you if you are applying for a sizeable investment.
Our Board of Trustees will consider all of the responses you have provided during the application process and will make an informed decision based on these.
We encourage applicants to upload relevant, supporting information with their Stage 2 application form, as this can often help us answer specific questions about your project.
We will also undertake various due diligence checks to establish the authenticity of your organisation and application, including financial history and references. If we need more information from you before making a decision on your request, we will ask you.
The email you receive will indicate the key factors that resulted in your lack of success.
Your Stage 1 application should include a link to a short 90 second YouTube/Vimeo video outlining your credentials, idea and the social challenge you are trying to address. Please note, it is the content and clarity of the idea that is most important; we are not assessing the production values or quality of the video. The video can be set as private, but please do include the password in your application.
When we refer to monitoring, we mean how you collect information about what is happening in your project and report to us on progress.
There are two main reasons we monitor progress:
Firstly, we strongly believe that every project is a learning process, both for the project organisation and for Nominet Trust. Reflecting on how the project is progressing is a crucial part of effective project delivery. This means asking honest questions about what is and isn’t working, and most importantly, why.
Secondly, Nominet Trust has a responsibility to account for the investments we make. This means having a way of articulating and evidencing the activities and impact that our investments make in the world.
We have a standard Monitoring Form, which you will be asked to complete online at regular intervals during your project (e.g. quarterly). It asks how the project is progressing against your project plan and whether you are achieving the objectives you have set. We also ask for updated budgets so we can keep track of the investment.
We always encourage honesty in monitoring and evaluation. We recognise any project is a learning process and will undergo changes and adaptations as it progresses.
Evaluation is about learning about what works from your project and the model of change you are using. It focuses on understanding what change has happened for the beneficiaries and why. Nominet Trust focuses on measuring ‘outcomes’, the changes that your project has effected, rather than just what the project has produced.
There are a variety of ways you could evaluate your project and what you choose will depend on the type of project you are running. It could include using questionnaires, interviews or specific evaluation tools. You may conduct the evaluation yourself or choose to use external evaluators. The Development Research team at Nominet Trust can support you to design your evaluation strategy.
Our evaluation approach focuses on measuring ‘outcomes’, the changes that your project has affected, rather than just what the project has produced. So for example, while knowing how many training sessions your project has run might be a useful milestone, you would have to measure how the sessions have affected the participants to know if the project has been successful or not.
The other big thing is to remember that you need to think about evaluation at the start of your project. It is virtually useless to start doing it halfway through - or, worse still, at the end.
For a more detail about Nominet Trust’s evaluation approach please read the evaluating your project resources in our Knowledge Centre.
The Charities Evaluation Service has plenty of useful information on its site, with free downloadable resources including evaluation guidance.
Outputs are the products of the project; they are often tangible deliverables that can be measured. For example, outputs might be the resources produced, number of downloads for an app, or number of people trained.
Outcomes are the specific changes that result from your project. This could include something participants learnt, a change in the participants’ behaviour, a change in the environment, or a change in society. Outcomes could be intended or unintended.
It can be helpful to try to step away from the specifics of project delivery for a moment and ask yourself: What changes do I want this project to make? How will be the participants (or wider community) be changed by this project? Outcomes should relate to the original need your project is trying to satisfy.
There are many useful resources freely available online to help you identify outcomes. The Charities Evaluation Services has some great free downloadable resources. View their online guidance to outcomes here.
If you are at risk of not meeting your objectives, we need to be informed as soon as possible. We will ask you to identify the project risks and how you intend to mitigate these. We will offer support and advice where possible. We believe all projects are a learning process and innovation carries risk, so encourage transparency of reporting.
However, if appropriate, there are sanctions for non-delivery in our Funding Agreement, which we could invoke if necessary.
A Theory of Change is a way of creating a step-by-step map of the changes your project will make. It identifies the overall goal of your project, and breaks down all the changes that need to happen to achieve it.
Creating a Theory of Change means you end up with a chain of cause and effect linking your short term outcomes to your overall goal. It's like saying "if this happens, then that will happen." A Theory of Change also helps you to identify the assumptions in your project about how one change will lead to another. These assumptions often form a crucial part of a project evaluation.
A logic model is a way of mapping out the different components of a project. It generally has 4 parts:
- Inputs - the resources that go into a project (e.g. money or people's time)
- Activities - the activities that the project undertakes (e.g. running a training session)
- Outputs - the tangible results of the project (e.g. number of people trained)
- Outcomes - the changes the outputs has resulted in (e.g. more people using the internet)
Unlike many funders, we provide grant funding, with an investment mindset.
The funding we provide is not a repayable loan. Neither do we request an equity stake in your venture.
In addition to a grant, we also provide a package of Funder+ support to help maximise what can be achieved with the funding given.
The Intellectual Property rests AND REMAINS with the applicant for projects supported by Nominet Trust. THIS INCLUDES IP GENERATED WITH NOMINET TRUST FUNDING. The only restrictions we have around IP are part of our funding agreement and state that projects we support are BOUND not to infringe the copyright or other intellectual property rights of any third party as part of their work.