The story behind Catalyst and where the journey might take us all.


Creating a new kind of CAST

CAST is founded by Dan Sutch, Annika Small and Kieron Kirkland. The board is made up of Lord Jim Knight, Emma Thomas, Nat Hunter, Mary Mckenna, Nick Stanhope.

Through funding from Nominet Trust (now Social Tech Trust), CAST is set up to support the needs of charities through networked and digital ways of working.

Beehive Giving becomes incubated by CAST.


Exploring scalable programmes

CAST receives funding from Comic Relief to run the first ever digital accelerator for charities. This becomes known as Fuse, where charities discover, design and build a new digital product or service. Breast Cancer Care, Age UK, Parkinson's UK participate in the Fuse. Funding also helps to establish a Digital Fellowship. Charity leaders from Safe Lives, Wales Coop, Ugly Mugs participate.

Investment from Big Lottery Fund boosts development of Fuse and Digital Fellowship programmes.

We start working with trusts and foundations including Power to Change, Peter Cundhill Foundation and UFI charitable trust, to figure how best to handle digital and data in their work.


New partnerships and real impact

We start providing direct services to charities through a network of partners. We offer some support, and coordinate networked support for charities going through the Tech vs Abuse and Tech for Good programmes, funded by Comic Relief and Esmee Fairbairn.

We undertake a research programme to better understand the broader needs of charities and the social sector. We create All Roads, a document that explores how to deliver social impact at scale through collective endeavours.


Urgent change at scale recognised

Initial funding from Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation get Spark started. This work, focused on charities working with children, mental health and gender justice, is a collaboration between Engine Room, Dot Everyone, Working with Joe, and Think Social Tech.

Building on learnings through CAST, we start to design Catalyst, which aims to support 40,000 charities to embrace digital over the next few years. We share our vision with funders, and CAST is named in the Civil Society Strategy by DCMS.

DCMS, Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation confirm funding for Catalyst.


Catalyst incubation begins

CAST officially begins incubation of Catalyst. National Lottery Community Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and City Bridge Trust join Catalyst as founding funders.

Bringing together organisational and sector knowledge, we set out our key outcome areas and objectives for the year ahead.

Partner workshops and our inaugural Catalyst gathering help us to further refine our objectives.

We add a few team members and identify digital partners to help kick-off projects across our ambition areas.

Reflecting on how to optimise what we’re doing, we begin to explore governance models that will enable Catalyst to truly harness the power of the collective in 2020 and beyond.


Catalyst inspires change

Catalyst design and development methods are becoming embedded within charities across sectors. Pockets of collective activity emerge throughout the UK, supporting charities through collectives.

By the end of 2020, we see multiple network of individuals, organisations, and intermediaries pulling together for a common purpose.

Catalyst explores ways to become a self sustaining network and field building organisation, independent of CAST.


A fully-catalysed social sector

Catalyst is thriving and 40,000 charities have changed their approach to digital. Clusters of charities and support organisations are forming around shared missions and objectives.

Charities are no longer working alone for their own organisational gain. They are working with each other and for each other to build a stronger and more resilient social and voluntary sector.