Beehive and charity users

The need for grant data

Beehive is a free, online tool which enables charities to find potential funding ‘matches’ easily online. It was set up by the Forward Foundation, to help address the inefficiency inherent in the grant application process, for both grantmakers and grantees. The tool aims to help grantmakers who find themselves processing huge amounts of applications from charities they are unlikely to support. For grantees, Beehive aims to mitigate the considerable amount of staff time wasted on unsuccessful grant applications.

The data solution

Beehive was launched in July 2015 and is currently live in beta. It is powered by open grant data from 360Giving, which it ‘matches’ with information provided by a charity or organisation with a Beehive account, identifying suitable grantmakers. Beehive uses the 360Giving data to offer personalised recommendations, including the typical size of funding awarded by a specific grantmaker, and how a charity’s funding proposal might compare to it. Beehive also supports grantmakers and grantees by only recommending ‘matches’ that meet the eligibility criteria for both parties.

Suraj, co-founder and creator of Beehive said: “Being able to access information about funders in an open and consistent way is really revolutionary. It’s allowed me to create Beehive which is a real time-saver for thousands of charities, but just as importantly, it’s allowing us to answer previously unanswerable questions about the charitable sector, such as knowing where is underserved by funding. The establishment and usage of the 360Giving data standard is a fundamental piece of infrastructure for the sector.”

The outcome

Since the launch of the beta service, approximately 500 charities a month are being matched with grantmakers through Beehive, which continues to attract more than 800 new users a month. One of the many charities to use Beehive is the Erb’s Palsy Group, supporting families living with this condition which is usually caused by trauma during childbirth. The charity is volunteer run and seeks small grant funding for annual events. Beehive helped the charity to quickly identify several new funders, whose criteria they met.

Karen from the Erb’s Palsy Group said: “The information on our grant matches was delivered very quickly and it was very accurate. The option to click on a few additional questions to rule grantmakers in or out was a huge bonus for me – it saved me trawling through myriad websites to ascertain whether or not our project was eligible for funding”.

The Beehive team are now broadening their product and have developed a prototype service aimed at grantmakers, enabling them to compare their funding behaviour with that of other funders, explore an interactive map of their giving, and connect with charities seeking their funding.

Beehive is a tech for good project being incubated by CAST. Its supported by the Forward Foundation, Indigo Trust and 360Giving, with volunteers from NEON, DataKind UK, Forward Partners and Forward3D.