By Mark Walker, Organiser of the Tech4Good Awards
I’m very proud to announce that this year’s Tech4Good People’s Award includes an exciting new way for all of us to help make the world a better place by linking the People’s Award to a new crowdfunding opportunity.
Every one of our Tech4Good Awards finalists will be given a crowdfunding page, hosted by Crowdfunder.co.uk, and will have four weeks to generate as much support as possible for their work. The one generating the most support will win this year’s People’s Award, which will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in July.
Whether they win an Award or not this means they will be spreading the word about their work, generating more support from their own networks and finding new supporters to help grow their impact.
Helping winners take their Next Big Step
The Tech4Good Awards celebrate the people from all walks of life who are using tech to make the world a better place – our goal is to inspire others and share knowledge and skills that increase the impact of tech for social good. It’s always nice to get recognition for your work, and we have always encouraged winners and finalists to make the most of our events for networking and profile-raising, but in the past few years we have done more and more to support our winners directly.
We’ve realised that eight years on from the first Awards we have built a great network of supporters and partners who can really boost the work of our winners – and we can use the profile of the Awards to reach out to the public to get their support as well.
More than just a trophy
Last year we held our first Winners Dinner, hosted in October by the Information Technologists’ Company in their Livery Hall in the City of London. We asked our 2018 winners to tell us about their Next Big Step – to let us know what they have on the horizon and what support they need to achieve it. We even invited them to name people they wanted to meet.
We then set up an invite-only Dinner, inviting our winners, sponsors and judges, but also bringing in some of the people who the winners wanted to meet.
The advantage of having such a small event – just 32 guests – is that everyone meets everyone else. Whatever their initial interest they had a chance to look for connections and ideas which could boost the work of our winners, as well as finding connections to help accelerate their own plans.
We know of several new pieces of work that sprung up at that event which helped our winners take their Next Big Steps – and we know that everyone relished the chance to spend a little bit of time getting to know people a little better and learn more about what made them a winner.
Getting the most from a public vote
This year we’re baking that idea into our People’s Award – a public vote which takes place in June amongst all the finalists. Many Awards now run this sort of process, using the voting to reach out to supporters to generate votes, whether on a web page or on social media. We have used Twitter voting for six years, using Brandwatch to count hashtags and encouraging finalists to use the Awards to boost their profile.
Although it’s good to get lots of Tweets, we realised we had an opportunity to help generate something a little more tangible to help our finalists. Every one of them will be given a crowdfunding page – a unique chance to tell the world about what they do and ask for help taking their Next Big Step.
Some may just ask for a Tweet, to help raise their profile and share their story, but they also may want your tech skills or fundraising support. Some may be looking for funding pledges, whilst others may need an extra pair of hands on their next volunteering project.
Finalists can raise their profile and generate funding
The winner will be decided by who generates the most support in the four weeks before the Awards Ceremony, but we also know that we will have helped many people to use Crowdfunding for the first time. It’s about profile-raising, making new friends, creating a focus for your development efforts, learning how to ask for help from people you don’t know – or just saying thank you to the people who already support you.
We’ll be helping them think about what support they need and about generating cash for new ideas and giving them new skills for future projects.