Free money! Music to a charities’ ears, sung from the headquarters of Google.
In July, Google announced the The Google Impact Challenge was coming to Australia. Previously launched in US, Brazil and India, Google gives generous financial grants and technical assistance to charities that want to build life changing technology projects.
There are four $500,000 grants being awarded in Australia but before you get too excited, make sure you understand there are very specific things they are looking for. Here are our top tips for what they are looking for … and what they are not.
At its core, the google impact challenge is seeking a new concept and implementation plan for technology that addresses a social problem. This will likely mean looking at your programs first (not your donors, marketing or operations) and finding – how could lives be changed by technology?
Impact is as powerful as the technology in the judging criteria. They want to you to clearly articulate how many people you are going to help and how many more you could help with their money. Established charities have a real advantage here. If you know that in one year your health program delivered great outcomes for 500 new mothers but 500 more are limited by required attendance – you could develop a technology to bridge that gap. Allowing this grant to double your impact.
Scalability is the core principle behind most technology investments. Google is not looking for one-off projects – but projects that can ripple and grow. Take a look at their previous grant recipients, each of them scales across states, in some cases across countries. One advantage maybe if your project has potential to be self-funded post their grant, showing sustainability beyond their donation.
The impact challenge is something Google shares with their employees, with the media. They want to be able to share life changing concepts that inspire their staff and inspire generosity in other corporations. If your technology isn’t particularly inspiring, find a story within it that inspires people. Also, get that pitch deck ready to move an audience, remember its a competition!
Google is all about taking risks, testing new ideas, being bold and brave. Is your project brave for your charity? Is it a new idea, innovative in your sector? Google is looking to back bravery – make you are outside your comfort zone.
Technology is at the core of these grants – but this doesn’t mean giving computers away or upgrading your systems to help your organisation run more efficiently. Google is looking for projects that use technology to solve a specific social issue.
No funding for your operations budget, heck, no budget for life changing programs. If it’s anything business-as-usual, exit the application process now.
This grant will not help you build technology or programs to engage more donors in your cause. Enough said.
Google is looking for a “clearly defined idea”, however it can’t just be an idea. You’ll need to outline your target demographic, the problem faced, how your solution directly fixes that problem, how the magic will happen. Your application needs to incorporate strategy as well as tactics. It can’t be one or the other.
Don’t exclude yourself for being old – or old school. Google isn’t looking for a new charity start-up with no proven track record or credibility in their field that puts them at risk. They are seeking a new project from a credible charity or cause.
Applications close July 29, good luck!
Read this article at ProBono Australia.
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