Assessment and eligibility
Catalyst will be openly publishing challenges from non-profit organisations in the form of an open brief. This section talks about how proposals will be assessed and selected.
If you are a data, design, digital or topic expert, and you want to use your knowledge and skills to help charities address the greatest societal challenges, then you’re in the right place.
We welcome applications from collaborative partnerships of one or more agencies/freelancers where you feel a cross-organisation mix of skills and experience would benefit the project. In this case, the lead organisation should submit the bid and sub-contract others.
Where a sub-contractor is covering more than £10k of an individual application we ask the main applicant to provide details about that sub-contractor. The main applicant should specify how and why they have selected that particular sub-contractor, giving details of their skills, experience and other projects where they have worked together. Sub-contractors don't need to be incorporated and may include freelancers.
All open briefs are published here:

Who can apply?

We are looking for digital agencies, charities, PLCs and other organisations that have relevant skills and experience to support the delivery of programmes as outlined in respective briefs. To be eligible to apply for these briefs, you will need to meet the following criteria:
  • Be aligned with the values in the Catalyst Charter
  • Be incorporated in the UK (e.g. a registered entity with Companies House or charity with the Charity Commission)
  • Be insured (£250k prof. indemnity, £5M public liability, £10M employers liability)
  • Have the capacity/availability to engage
  • Have up to date accounts and be financially viable long term
  • Have privacy, safeguarding, equality, diversity and inclusion and GDPR policies
Many of the charities we work with support people and communities that suffer from structural inequality and systemic discrimination. Addressing these challenges requires a solid understanding of deep-rooted issues, so we are particularly keen to hear from teams who can bring their own lived-experiences to bear alongside their technical expertise, and/or who have previously worked with a civil society or public sector organisation. We strongly encourage applications from individuals and teams of all different backgrounds and identities to apply for our briefs.

How are decisions made?

Decisions will be made by CAST based on the following:
  • How well each proposal meets the brief and which approach gives us the most confidence;
  • The quality of the approach and methodology, and the suitability for the realisation of the proposed objectives;
  • How the work will enable further research or development beyond this sprint;
  • How the proposed approach has relevance outside a single field, and is able to excite those working in the wider civil society sector;
  • What levels of reuse are being proposed;
  • Whether there is a clear and realistic view on resources and capacity required to deliver within the time frame;
  • Which budget offers best value for money, without the collaborator underselling themselves;
  • Agencies' previous experience.

Process for assessing proposals

  1. 1.
    Due diligence checks: CAST will check that your organisation meets the eligibility criteria (see previous slide).
  2. 2.
    Assessment: Assuming that you pass the due diligence, your application will be assessed by two senior managers from the CAST team and the brief assessor from the respective grantee. We will include an updated assessment template as soon as it’s ready.
  3. 3.
    Assessment panel: All assessors discuss any discrepancies, questions and shortlist the successful applicants.
  4. 4.
    The final decision will be based on the outcome of the assessment panel and will be made by CAST.

What do we mean by 'Value for money'?

These are not fixed price programmes; you can quote a price below the maximum value if you can deliver the service at the quality level required for a lower price. Although the technical quality of your application will be the most important part of the assessment process (i.e. will carry more weight), its value for money will be assessed, and this means that the service you are offering to provide will be compared with the price you are offering, and where applications receive similar marks for their technical quality, the lower price application will be preferred.