The Social Change Nest Impact Report

What’s inside

  • The Social Change Nest CIC origin story
  • How and why we’re channelling more funding to grassroot groups
  • Why 80% of funders* are making fundamental shifts in their funding policies and models
  • How grassroot groups have been able to spend less time on admin and more time changing the world
  • A snapshot of our impact over the past two years
  • A sneak preview of what we’ve got coming up next!
September 2, 2023

Feedback from funders and grassroots groups

“[SCN has opened] the way for us to be a collective rather than a hierarchical organisation.”

“The Social Change Nest have been a key partner on our journey to funding young people directly.”

“I would not have had the confidence and happiness to accept the funds if I didn’t have a transparent way of showing how the funds are spent.”

“a good example of funders and activists working effectively together.”

“The team is great, flexible and always proactive to find ways to get support to movements.”

The Social Change Nest | Impact Report 2020-2022

Our vision: A vibrant and thriving civil society where social change happens from the ground up and the power to create change is open to all.

(foreword from Esther Foreman, Founder of The Social Change Nest)

It’s hard to believe we only started The Social Change Nest two years ago. Already, we can see how much our work is helping to carve out civil society space at a time when it is shrinking vividly. Technology has enabled people to organise in a different way, and the pandemic introduced thousands of people to social change. It is therefore not surprising that while traditional charities are struggling to cope with the post pandemic pressures, global shifts and legislative changes, has resulted in citizens taking up the mantle outside traditional charity structures. It is civil society, but just not as you knew it.

In Ukraine for example it is the informal volunteer groups that are leading the aid effort because the existing infrastructure and compliance have prevented the traditional aid organisations from acting fast enough. In the UK – it was the mutual aid groups who were able to act much faster than any local authority when the pandemic hit. Our work such as The Changing Ideas Mutual Aid Fund, launched this year has helped emergency Covid response groups think about their next phase post pandemic, helping to accelerate a new wave of civic power. This is also happening at a global level – as our work with the Urban Movement Innovation Fund shows.

“Our groups will have many things in common, but the main one for us is their passion and dedication to make a difference together. We created The Social Change Nest to remove as many blockages as possible for the people who want to do this.”

The groups using our services range from tenants and residents associations to solidarity funds, activists, local youth projects, early stage social enterprises, climate groups, trade union strike funds, community kitchens and so much more. They are the new generation of civic leaders; working as a group, often committed to transparent decision making, experimenting with asynchronistic organising, inspiring others and bringing people into equitable leadership. Our groups will have many things in common, but the main one for us is their passion and dedication to make a difference as a group. And we know how hard this is. The structures and systems of governance, money and power, often make it impossible to set up, get going and keep going as a committed group of people who want to change the world. The Social Change Nest was created to remove as many blockages as possible for the people who want to do this.

As our impact report shows, we have helped channel over £2.3 million directly to groups and changemakers in a way that allows them to make the decisions collaboratively and transparently, and alleviates the administrative burden. The transparency of the platform we use (thank you Open Collective) has also allowed them to build trust within their groups and within their communities. In addition, we have incubated and spin-out The Young Trustees Movement, and continue to support movements like Uplift and Parents for the Future with their own grant giving, decision making and capacity building to help strengthen their impact. We have embedded a participatory grantmaking process with our groups and we’re even seeing deeper shifts in policies from the funders using SCN. Our partnerships have enabled them to channel their money into civil spaces that funding would not ordinarily access and this will only continue to grow.

I am very proud of my team who have helped to grow and shape our Nest – even earning us a place in the Top 100 social enterprises in the NatWest SE100. I am very appreciative of the Foundations who shared our vision and their funding and I want to thank Open Collective for being such brilliant partners and coming on this great journey with us. Our vision is to see a vibrant and thriving civil society where social change happens from the ground up and the power to create change is open to all. Well… it’s happening.

With excitement,

Esther Foreman
CEO and Founder of the Social Change Nest

The Social Change Nest | Impact Report 2020-2022

The Social Change Nest provides a unique way for funders to back committed people and groups doing dedicated work to help their communities. The Changing Ideas Mutual Aid Fund has been a true partnership with the team and a good example of funders and activists working effectively together.

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