The Brevio social enterprise platform launched on Wednesday, offering UK charities a more efficient way to apply for funds from those wishing to fund their worthy causes.
Researchers at the University of Bath were key to developing the online platform, which matches charities with would-be funders in a bid to replace the existing complex intensive grant-making and application processes which are estimated to cost the charity sector heavily in both time and money.
The online platform was due to launch towards the end of the 2020 but it was brought forward in light of charities urgently needing to access funds to help them continue provide their services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Charities can access Brevio for free for the first 12 months.
“The last thing charities need right now is to be ground down filling out reams of forms - Brevio simplifies the entire process. So we implore funders and charities alike to make use of our platform” said Philip Hodgson, Brevio Chief Executive Officer and a Master of Business Administration graduate of the University of Bath.
“We will be positioning Brevio as the leading model for grant applications. Universities adopted what is now UCAS in 1961, connecting people to higher education - Brevio aims to be the UCAS for the Third Sector connecting charities with grant makers,” Hodgson said.
Brevio’s founder, Marcelle Speller OBE, commissioned research by the University of Bath in late 2018. Hodgson along with leading professors published a study showing that charities spend £1.1 billion a year on staff writing grant applications, 66% of which fail. This demonstrated a clear need for a digital solution to reduce inefficiencies.
From the University of Bath, Dimo Dimov, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Alistair Brandon-Jones, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Julian Padget, Reader in Artificial Intelligence, worked on the research. They have since been advising Brevio on its research and development of the platform.
Speller, a philanthropist herself whose own money has gone into setting up Brevio, said, “The sector has been talking about this for decades. It needed someone independent to get on and sort this out, to remove the archaic bureaucracy that comes with tedious form filling.”
Brevio has opened up its platform for grant-making organisations, as well as the trusts and foundations of individual philanthropists. It will be free to charities and funders until next Spring.
Brevio has sought feedback throughout its 18-month development from major UK funders, such as Lloyds Bank Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund, the Cabinet Office, and the Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport/ Office for Civil Society.
Charities large and small were also consulted to ensure a workable and sustainable solution was provided for the sector. Brevio said the response was positive and supportive.
“Charities are having to pivot in completely new directions in order to survive. There has never been so much demand for their services and Brevio can help them,” Speller said.
Vice Chancellor of Bath University Ian White said, “I’m delighted to see this collaboration between social entrepreneurs and our researchers from the School of Management and Department of Computer Science coming to fruition. By creating a platform to match charities and funders, and save both time and administration costs in the process, Brevio is addressing a real challenge for both sectors. I wish them every success.”