Here for the changemakers

The Social Change Nest (SCN) was incorporated as a community interest company in 2020. But the need for it was clear long before then.

What we stand for

Our Vision

A vibrant, thriving civil society where social change happens from the ground up – and the power to create it is open to all.

Our Mission

We exist to tear down the barriers that prevent people from creating change. We do this by providing impact-led fiscal hosting, grant distribution, grant management, capacity building and infrastructure support to changemakers around the world. Our support enables them to take collective leadership on the things that matter most to them and in doing so, increase civil society space.

Our Aims

Our difference

78% of groups* said SCN helped them build more trust and transparency with the communities they serve

65% of groups* said SCN gave them more time to focus on non-administrative tasks

80% of funders* said working with SCN has lead them to make deeper shifts in their funding policies or models

87% of groups* said SCN has given them more peace of mind about their groups’s finances

*Responding to our 2021 annual survey – read our full Impact Report here

Our history

Our story

The Social Change Nest (SCN) was incorporated as a community interest company in 2020. But the need for it was clear long before then.

As the sister of The Social Change Agency (SCA), we already had years of experience with social movements, campaigning and social impact. Our work had given us a deep understanding of civil society – the barriers to getting started, and the fiscal, administrative and leadership needs of hundreds of groups of people. All of them doing their best to make a difference in their communities.

The spark

In 2017, Paul Hamlyn Foundation commissioned SCA to write ‘Choose Love’ – a report on the rapid growth of Help Refugees. Help Refugees started as a self-initiated volunteer response to the ‘refugee crisis’, but ended up raising over £50,000 in a week and was managing over 15,000 volunteers just a few years later.

A key finding of our report was the need to reduce risk around funding early-stage volunteer-led movements. Informal grassroots groups and networks need support with structures like compliance and governance. But they need it in a way that doesn’t inhibit the speed and agility that often defines their work.

All of the support available at the time focused on the ‘heropreneur’ – one person taking responsibility and accountability for everything. But movements and networks simply don’t work like that. So we were determined to create an approach that recognised collaborative leadership.

The breakthrough

After a couple of years of experimenting with prototypes, we discovered Open Collective (OC) – an open-source technology firm born out of Extinction Rebellion. OC’s platform allows unincorporated, grassroots groups to transparently and safely receive and manage their funds.
When Covid-19 hit, we knew we had to accelerate our timeline. So for 6 weeks, the SCA team paused their work and focused all their efforts on getting The Social Change Nest up and running – supported by grants from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Lankelly Chase, Changing Ideas and Innovate UK.

The impact

Since then we’ve supported over 400 groups and we’ve helped distribute over £16 million into the hands of those who need it most. We are set up as a CIC as we want to ensure that whatever we build stays in the hands of the communities and people who need it. We have a Non-Executive Director board who keeps us accountable and work closely with our partners, groups and supporters to help us achieve our aims.