Applications for this programme are not currently open

Innovation Fund

You can apply for innovation funding any time between 1 June 2019 and 15 November 2019.

There will be specific decision dates in this timeframe, which we’ll let you know when you apply.

Criteria Overview

The Vodafone Foundation Innovation Fund has been set up to support innovative work that aims to create better outcomes for our most excluded and disadvantaged youth.

We are looking for proven or promising ideas, projects and programmes that:

  • align with our strategy,
  • generate outcomes in one or more of our five keys areas
  • that are innovative
  • that utilise technology in their implementation or dissemination
  • we are also interested in digital inclusion projects (more information below)

The amounts of capital and the additional resources available will move and shift according to the needs of the recipients, and the focus and form of this fund is regularly reviewed.

We recognise that innovation takes time and projects may be at different stages of development, so we have some suggested guidelines around stages to apply for (these are outlined below).

This is an open, contestable grant round and all registered charities are encouraged to apply. If successful a maximum of 15% of the grant may be used for organisational overheads.

Successful organisations, if they have completed all reporting requirements, may apply twice in one year. Large institutions, such as Universities may submit a maximum of eight applications per calendar year.

We are open to collaborative applications, and, where possible, we will aim to fully fund successful applications.

The majority of successful applications will be those that use technology to implement or disseminate their project and are likely to support positive intergenerational outcomes.

We are unlikely to fund:

  • research or interventions around specific physical illness or disabilities
  • research projects not connected to practical applications
  • business as usual
  • the generation of short films or web series unless supported by ongoing youth development
  • one off events or short-term interventions
  • capital projects, infrastructure, devices, connectivity, tech hubs
  • projects without youth input
  • scholarships, tertiary studies, funding for individuals

You can find more information about the seed, pilot and scale funding options below.

More detail about what we’re looking to fund

There are 210,000 children and young people who don’t have access to the resources and opportunities they need to grow into the great adults they want to be, and we want to reduce those numbers.

We want to fund new ideas and approaches that will lead to halving the number of children and young people who fall into high risk categories.

We’re focusing on innovation that will have an impact in these five key focus areas: Youth Justice; Care and protection; Long term beneficiaries; Rangatahi Mäori & Meaningful Learning

This doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on programmes working directly with those young people, but on the systems, environments, contexts and ecosystems that wrap around and contain their lives.

By innovation we don’t necessarily mean invention. We want to invest in people, in change processes and in new ideas that are proven and promising. We don’t mind taking risks. We are very interested in funding innovative tech projects that are in line with our strategy.

We want to be upfront. The funding we have doesn’t allow us to invest long-term in a large number of projects. But what we can do is take risks and provide funding to instigate, test and grow promising ideas.

Digital Inclusion Projects

In 2019 the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation is making an open call for projects and ideas that seek to address or change the barriers to digital inclusion for our most disadvantaged and excluded young people.

We recently commissioned this report on Digital Inclusion, which we’d highly recommend reading before making an application in this space.

We are looking to fund interventions, programmes, policy change, advocacy and partnership projects.

We are unlikely to fund devices, connectivity, infrastructure, tech hubs or cost barrier reduction projects.

Please apply using the standard Innovation Fund application form, or contact our Grants Advisor if you are seeking larger funding opportunities.

Projects Under $50,000

We like to begin most of our funding relationships with grants under $50,000. This allows us to get to know our community partners and understand the projects before larger investment might arise.

Applications are to be completed using our online form.

Some guidelines to what might be applied for under this funding opportunity are outlined below. Your project may not fit neatly into these categories, and that is ok. As long as the application meets our eligibility criteria, and is on theme for the fund, we invite your application.

Seed Stage Projects ($1,000 to $10,000 per application recommended)

‘Seed stage’ describes early stage ideas and concepts being developed for use in New Zealand. Projects applied for could be research, developing options papers, building relationships, creating a feasibility study, youth co-design, early stage testing of an idea or project, or the adaptation of a successful project for the New Zealand context. It’s focused on exploring ideas and testing their viability before proceeding to a pilot stage. There must be a focus on generating positive outcomes for the most excluded and disadvantaged young people in New Zealand. We anticipate organisations that are applying at the seed stage plan to apply to pilot the project in the future.

Pilot Projects ($10,000 – $50,000 per application recommended)

A pilot project sees a developed and scoped idea put into practice on a small scale. This may involve building a minimal viable product or testing a project/programme in the real world. You will actively track measurements and learnings as part of a pilot – both the positive and the challenging. We anticipate organisations with successful pilot projects would seek to scale the project as the next phase.

Second Stage or Phase Pilot Projects ($10,000 – $50,000 per application recommended)

An opportunity to take a pilot project to the next phase before wider scaling. In this phase a pilot project will have already taken place, and the learnings from it might have indicated tweaks and tailoring before it is ready to be rolled out widely. This may involve further development of a minimal viable product or more advanced testing of a project/programme in the real world. You will actively track measurements and learnings – both the positive and the challenging. We anticipate organisations with successful pilot projects would seek to scale the project as the next phase.

Projects over $50,000 (maximum of $200,000)

Innovation Funding over $50,000 is for organisations who already have a proven project or programme and wish to increase the scale of their work to enhance the positive outcomes for young people.

Your organisation does not need to have started a project through our funding to be applicable for funding over $50,000, however successful applicants will likely have an existing relationship with the Vodafone Foundation, or strong evidence of the efficacy of their project.

To apply for this level of funding our process is different. Please email our Grants Lead, Helen, to set up a korero about your project and work. The application form may be made available to you after this.

We have limited funding for large-scale projects, so we are only able to fund a small number of these. This is a highly competitive process, and projects will need to demonstrate strong strategic alignment.