Growing tech-for-good in the North East: event learnings

On Monday 2nd of December, members of the North East tech-for-good community gathered at Eagle Labs Newcastle to ask one big question: ‘How can we grow tech-for-good in the North East?’. To avoid a play-by-play we’ve broken this recap into three sections, starting with the one key lesson everyone should take away from the event.

Donr — Growing tech-for-good in the North East: event learnings 1


Remove Silos and Build Trust

When asked questions around the challenges faced by the sector, #DonrForGood’s panel shared that one of the biggest barriers is that tech-for-good companies are often stuck in the space between being a limited company and the social impact sector. Ultimately to grow the tech-for-good sector we need more public awareness around organisations that are successfully investing some of their profits back into their business to amplify their impact.

Why? To build trust. Questions from the audience raised points about salaries in the tech-for-good sector, talent retention and sequentially, the delicate balance between profit and purpose. Our key takeaway: that you can make a change and make money, and although the world hasn’t quite caught up, don’t give up – because tech-for-good is making a difference.


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Why we love it?

– To paraphrase Shaun Sharkey from Crowdcube, “crowdfunding opens up the demographic of people who can invest in early stage businesses”.

– It helps foster a closer relationship between consumers and businesses


Our Key Takeaways

Crowdfunding is about people

Although crowdfunding’s primary purpose is to raise money, if you make the finances your focus, you will not succeed. Crowdfunding is about customer service. Make the most important part of your campaign your people and the value they get from being part of your tribe, and they will share your campaign.

Step 1: Fill your restaurant

The ‘sharing element’ of any crowdfunding campaign was referred to at the event as the “ripple effect”. If you prefer a people-centred analogy, Jes Bailey compared a full restaurant to an empty one, in that as customers we’re more likely to want to dine in the fuller one. So to kickstart your ripple effect or lunchtime service rush, you need to get all of your primary network (your friends, family and close business connects) to pledge to invest before your campaign goes live.

That way, when you launch your campaign will have more backers, therefore instilling trust in your campaign — a vital factor when you’re asking people you don’t know to support your mission!

Crowdfunding does not = tech

You don’t have to be tech-savvy to make crowdfunding work. Because crowdfunding is about people, to get your campaign to work you need to tap into your network. Due to social media algorithms, your Facebook posts will only reach 12% of your friends organically – so pick up the phone, meet people in person and even send snail mail!


Social Investment

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Why we love it?

– It’s unrestricted finance to help organisations increase their social impact and become more sustainable

– Why we love the North East Social Investment Fund in particular? They are more than just financial support!


Our Key Takeaways

The VCSE Sector’s funding sourcing has changed

Due to a lack of funding and an increased need for their services, the voluntary, community and social enterprise space’s funding patterns have changed. Organisations are therefore having to look to other sources to help fund their growth, including social investment.

Future funding models need to foster partnerships

The North East Social Investment Fund isn’t bogged down by red tape. Because they understand the vital services the North East voluntary, community and social enterprise sector provide to the region, their aim is to determine as soon as possible if the fund is the right fit for the organisation and if so to get the process started. They also understand that no two organisations are the same, and so want the point of entry to be as accessible as possible — so they don’t even have an application form.


Thank You

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As a final note, Donr would like to thank all of our speakers and panellists. Thank you for making time to share your knowledge and experience with our community.

Jes Bailey, Crowdfunding Consultant and Founder of Crowdfund-360

Alison Collins, Investment Manager North East Social Investment Fund, Northstar Ventures

Shaun Sharkey, Equity Fundraising Manager at Crowdcube

Chris Newell, Co-Founder of Donr

Lizzy Hodcroft, Co-Founder of Myndr

We’d also like to say thank you to Eagle Lab Newcastle for letting us use their event space and for promoting the evening to their community.


Explore Donr’s Crowdcube campaign here ⚡️


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