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Beehive – Helping small non-profits find the right funders

By Suraj Vadgama, 25 Aug 2016

Creator of tech for good venture Beehive explains how open data is being used to help thousands of non-profits raise funds, and an exciting role they are hiring for to help them grow their impact.

Just as honeybees are vital for the environment, not-for-profit organisations are essential to our society – without them, countless communities and sectors would be worse off. With this in mind I developed Beehive (www.beehivegiving.org). The only service of its kind, the website makes use of open data on charitable funding to provide small non-profits personalised recommendations for suitable funders.

This is valuable because non-profits spend many hours working on funding applications, with 9 out of 10 being unsuccessful; the most recent report from the Directory of Social Change revealed that the top 2,500 funders received in excess of 350,000 ineligible applications (approximately 1.4 million hours) from non-profits in a single year. That’s a lot of wasted effort, with little value derived from the process.

The beta version of Beehive was launched last summer and has grown to be a great success, helping over 7,000 charitable organisations, using data from 30 charitable funders. More importantly, it’s become a proven example of open data being used to provide user and social value. Ewemade from Communities First a small charity based in London, said,

“I am amazed at the service of Beehive. It helped us to quickly, I mean very quickly, identify suitable potential funders based on our self-identified needs… I have never come across a service like this that even allows you to link directly to the application page after helping you to ensure you are relevant for the funders you have identified. If you say you need £15,000, it rates your relevance/chances to the funders you are seeking by letting you know the chances of them considering that amount.”

The large amount of interest in the beta has highlighted many areas for improvement, most crucially around the quality of analysis and information that Beehive provides to non-profits. Finding the space to make these improvements has been hard, so thankfully the Outlandish Fellowship is helping Beehive implement an improved architecture. In particular, developing two web APIs for www.beehivegiving.org that will drastically improve the analysis and recommendations:

The Beehive Data API – semi-automated tool for data moderators and a source of high quality data about previous charitable funding that www.beehivegiving.org and other developers can freely use as a data source.

The Beehive Insight API – a recommendation engine that compares a funding request to those previously funded (via Beehive Data).

I’m now actively seeking a fellow developer to join Beehive as a Data & Research Lead. The ideal person would be both interested in data visualisation and be passionate about tech for good: please get in touch if that sounds like you.

To find out more about the role, or about Beehive in general, drop me a line on suraj@beehivegiving.org.