Innocent Foundation Goal 2 Call Guidance Notes

About us: 

Since we started in 2004, we’ve been working towards a world of #ZeroHunger. We find visionary people and organisations who are tackling hunger in simple, smart and sometimes radical ways, and give them the funding they need to succeed. Together, we turn brave, bold ideas into real solutions that help the world’s hungry. 

What we’re looking for: 

  • Projects that will support vulnerable faming, fishing, and pastoralist families in Kenya and/or Madagascar to avoid hunger and become more resilient to future climate risks.  

What we’re really excited by: 

  • Brand-new ideas, or better ways of delivering proven ideas that tackle the root causes of hunger and food insecurity. 
  • Innovative solutions that help families anticipate and proactively adapt to climate change. 
  • Early-stage innovations with the potential to scale and fundamentally disrupt the status quo.  
  • Strong social entrepreneurs and changemakers with a great team behind them.  

What you’ll bring: 

  • A sound strategy, with an ambitious vision for how your idea could lead to systems-level change. 
  • A straight-forward plan to capture impact and learn along the way. 
  • A clear endgame. All our partners know what they’re striving for and how to get there, particularly after our funding ends. 

Who we’ll fund 

  • Legally incorporated not-for-profits, or UK registered Community Interest Companies. 
  • We’re especially keen to hear from organisations based in Kenya and Madagascar that already work closely with the families and communities who will benefit from the project.  

What we’re offering: 

  • Grants of up to £150,000 over 3 years (we will consider 2 years in exceptional circumstances).  
  • We’re open to some risk, so can provide seed funding for initial pilots or proofs of concept where you have a robust idea but limited evidence. 
  • We’re happy to provide money for test and transition, where you need to focus on evaluating and learning from the impact of widening a project or introducing a proven idea to a new region, etc. 
  • Where there’s rigorous evidence that a proven idea still has serious room to grow, we will consider providing money to scale-up. 
  • We are happy to fund 100% of costs, but equally we are happy to co-fund. 

We won’t fund (so don’t ask): 

  • Core costs alone, but encourage you to include a reasonable proportion of overheads. 
  • Major capital costs like buildings. 
  • The promotion of religious or political causes; general appeals or circulars; individual sponsorship; or events/conferences on their own. 

What we mean by innovation: 

  • New ideas, or step-change evolutions of existing ideas, that test, challenge, and improve the status quo.  
  • Approaches that disrupt the equilibrium and proactively prevent a problem from getting worse. 
  • Whatever the type of innovation, you need to explain how it will meaningfully benefit food-insecure farming, fishing and pastoralist families.  For example: how will your idea generate greater benefits than proven alternatives; how will your new mechanism, methodology or approach allow you to reach the previously unreachable; how will you ensure your new, cheaper technology remains durable; how exactly does your idea help vulnerable communities increase resilience to climate change? 

What we mean by potential to scale: 

  • You must be able to demonstrate that your idea has the potential to be a cost-effective way (per £1 of investment) to deliver greater results than standard food security practice. 
  • You have a compelling plan for achieving sustainable growth following the grant.  
  • We want to see how your plans ladder-up to reach more people in the long run. How could your approach be replicated in a whole new region or country?  

What we mean by social entrepreneurs with great teams: 

  • Social entrepreneurial mindset is strongly innovative, often bringing ambitious new ideas for systems-level change with global relevance. 
  • Teams must have strong knowledge and expertise of the issue they are trying to address and the context in which they’re working and be able to communicate their ideas in a concise and compelling way. 
  • We’d like to see that your team has clear roles, responsibilities, and time commitments needed to be successful. 

You are unlikely to be successful if: 

  • You’re working in conflict settings or in areas providing humanitarian aid.  
  • You’re replicating existing efforts in a new context without being able to describe how this is new or revolutionary.  
  • Your project has a limited scale of impact, even if the project is successful. 
  • You’re not committed to measuring and evaluating your success. 
  • You’re working on measures to reduce obesity. 
  • Your admin costs and overheads charged to this project are unreasonable. 
  • You’re unable to describe the direct impact the project will have. 
  • You have a good idea but without a great team to take it forward. 

Pssst! you should write this in your application:  

We know that raising funds is a major focus for charities and that it can take you away from the real work. So, we’d like to make the process of applying to us for funding as easy as possible. We don’t have a template for concept notes or proposals, but we suggest that you include the following information to help us understand why we should fund your project:  

  • About your organisation – what is your mission? Include links to some achievements? 
  • What problem is the project trying to solve? Show us facts and figures about the need you’re addressing.  
  • Who will the project help?  What is the local level of food insecurity? 
  • How will the project work? What are your key activities and timeline; who are your key people and partners? 
  • How much will it cost? A summary budget giving top line details of major expenditure lines, and mentioning any co-funders.  
  • How might the project aim to have scalable impact? This can start from a community level to a global level. We like ambition.  
  • What are you trying to achieve? What outcomes do you want to see and how will you measure? 
  • What happens when our funding finishes? Will you carry on the work? How will you fund it? 
  • Why do you believe this project will work?  
  • What are the major risks to the project? How do you plan to mitigate them?  

Please aim for around 1,000 words. We like brief and jargon free! Please email and ask for advice if you’re stuck because we want to help you submit the best proposal you can. We know the turnaround on these proposals is short and the ideas are more important than the word-count, so please don’t worry if you’re a little over or a little under.  

What now, what next? 

The call for applications is now live and will remain open until 8.00am on 8th April 2022. We’ll be reviewing applications on a rolling basis so get your skates on.  

Stage 1 – make sure you meet our criteria by taking this quick eligibility quiz

Stage 2 – submit a concept note (about 1,000 words) outlining your idea before the deadline of 8.00am GMT on 8th April 2022. We will review the submissions and produce a shortlist to go through to stage 3. 

Stage 3 – By the 19th April 2022 we’ll be in touch to let you know if your idea has made the shortlist.  

Stage 4 – If you’re shortlisted, we’ll ask you to submit a full proposal by 10th May 2022 and we’ll be in touch regarding due diligence and our Trustees’ decision.  

Stage 5 – We’ll get the grant agreements signed so that you can get started by 30 June 2022. 

In a nutshell:  

You write 1,000 words on a great idea.  

You send it to hello@innocentfoundation.org by 8th April at 8am (please don’t pull an all-nighter).  

We are dazzled by your brilliance and it’s the start of a beautiful friendship.