Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 8: Digital Volunteering funding

Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 8: Digital Volunteering funding

Funding is available for organisations and partnerships to create and support new digital volunteering opportunities.

Page updated: 27 September 2021


Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 8: Digital Volunteering funding is no longer accepting applications.

Explore our available funding.


Our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative is designed to raise digital skills and confidence across the whole UK heritage sector. Since February 2020 we have made funding, resources and guidance available to help heritage organisations use digital to move into a more resilient and creative future.

The results from our Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (DASH) survey, published in October 2020, identified an opportunity for the heritage sector to create new types of volunteering opportunities that make use of digital skills.

This new funding programme is now available to help UK organisations or partnerships establish new digital volunteering opportunities across the sector. Opportunities should focus on digital activities and/or activities that can be carried out at distance.  

Total available funding under this tranche is £1million across all grants. Grants from £10,000 to £100,000 are available for each project. The expected project duration is 12 months, with possible extension to 18 months.

  1. Read this guidance carefully
  2. Follow our open programme application guidance when applying for this funding. To review our current Digital Outputs requirement, refer to the Standard terms of grant webpage.
  3. Submit a Project Enquiry Form online via our Get funding for a heritage project service by 12 noon on 16 August 2021, using the hashtag #Digital8 at the start of your project title. This allows us to provide an initial review of your idea. We will aim to give you feedback within 10 working days.
  4. Submit a full application online via our Get funding for a heritage project service by 12 noon on 27 September 2021, using the hashtag #Digital8 at the start of your project title. Applications will only be accepted for projects that have previously submitted a Project Enquiry Form.
  5. We will assess your application and make decisions on the week commencing 8 November 2021. You will be notified of the decision via email by 18 November 2021.

You can apply if you are:

  • a not-for-profit organisation working in relation to heritage
  • a partnership led by a not-for-profit organisation working in relation to heritage

We are looking for organisations who want to create and establish new digital volunteering opportunities and roles.

Roles should focus on:

  • digital activities or
  • activities that can be carried out at distance or
  • both of these

Digital activities 

By digital activities, we mean tasks that require technical skill or expertise. For example, these could include:

  • building a website
  • creating a database
  • adding meta data to digital assets
  • creating an online service offer
  • ensuring online content is accessible

Activities carried out at distance

By activities that can be carried out at distance, we mean any task that is carried out via mobile or computer, where technology is used as the means of delivery. For example, these could include:

  • recording a promotional video
  • logging data
  • delivering an educational talk online
  • uploading images

Providing opportunities to volunteer

Successful projects will create new opportunities for people to benefit from volunteering to support heritage. They will provide opportunities for members of the public to volunteer to support your organisation or a heritage project through digital and/or at distance volunteering.

Organisations will provide induction, training, support and, where applicable, access to equipment and connectivity to volunteers.  

Supporting digital volunteering expertise in the sector

These grants will help organisations to develop their own expertise in relation to recruiting and working with digital volunteers. They will also establish digital volunteering roles that support the organisation’s strategic aims.

These projects are designed to support the development of digital volunteering across the heritage sector. Because of this, we will be considering these factors:

  • Your track-record and experience of recruiting, supporting and, where applicable, retaining volunteers (these do not need to be digital volunteers).
  • The need and value of the type/s of digital volunteer role you are proposing to your organisation or project.
  • The likely benefit of your chosen approach to groups and organisations working across heritage in the UK, in terms of how transferable your approach might be.
  • Your ability to recruit and retain new and different kinds of volunteers with diverse needs in diverse locations.
  • Your understanding of, and approach to, any significant risks relating to the types of digital and at distance volunteering opportunities you are proposing.

We are looking for projects that will also inspire and demonstrate the value of digital volunteering to other organisations working with heritage.

Sharing project outputs  

In line with The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s licencing requirement all digital outputs (for example, training materials) should be shared under our default open licence (CC BY 4.0). Organisations are encouraged to ‘work in the open’ and share what they learn, challenges and progress where possible.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund will work with the cohort of successful projects to agree final project delivery plans.

All projects will attend an online kick off meeting and will be expected to share a ‘service recipe’ or case study at the end of their project, which will allow other organisations to understand what the project achieved and how it was done.  

The expected project duration is 12 months with possible extension to 18 months. Decisions will be made in November 2021. Your project must not start before a decision is made.

When we assess applications, we will consider whether your project meets the criteria outlined in the ‘what we are looking for’ section on this guidance page.

Our assessment will also consider a range of factors that apply to all of our funding through our open programme:

  • Whether your project is relevant to heritage in the UK.
  • What needs and opportunities your project will address.
  • How strongly your project will achieve our priority outcomes for 2021-22. Your project must meet our mandatory outcome of involving a wider range of people will in heritage.
  • Your project’s overall value for money.
  • Potential risks to the project’s success, especially in relation to impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on project delivery.
  • Your approach to environmental sustainability.

Applications will be considered by an internal panel convened especially for this purpose. Decisions will be made in November and you will be notified by email on 18 November 2021.  

If your bid is successful, we reserve the right to offer you a different amount than you have asked for. We would discuss this in principle with you in advance of the decision-making panel.

You will need to follow our open programme application process in order to apply for this funding.

To start your application, you should visit our website to create an account or sign in to our Get funding for a heritage project service.

Please note:

  • Digital Skills for Heritage does not have a separate Project Enquiry Form or application form – you will be using our National Lottery Grants for Heritage forms to apply.
  • Specific information about the available funding is provided in this guidance, but you should also read our open programme application guidance £10,000 to £250,000 carefully.
  • You should also review the standard terms of grant and receiving a grant guidance webpages for projects between £10,000 and £100,000. These requirements will apply to successful projects.

Project Enquiry Form

For this funding, we require the submission of a Project Enquiry Form. The deadline for this is 16 August 2021 at 12 noon. The Project Enquiry Form is your chance to get feedback on your ideas before you write a full application. We will aim to get back to you within 10 working days.

To submit a Project Enquiry Form, please carry out the following steps in the application portal:

  • Choose ‘Start a Project Enquiry’ and fill out the form. Please insert #Digital8 (including the hash symbol) at the start of your project title to help us correctly identify your application.
  • You will be asked to provide a short response to a number of questions about your proposed project. These include what you will do, who will be involved and what the heritage focus of the project is.
  • You will also be asked what outcome you want to achieve. All projects we fund must meet our mandatory outcome.

Full application form

The deadline for full applications is 12 noon on 27 September 2021. You must submit a Project Enquiry Form in order to make a full application.

Alongside your application form you will need to submit mandatory supporting documents. Please note: your application is not complete until you submit the mandatory supporting documents. We cannot start to assess your application until your supporting documents are received.

To submit your full application:

  • Choose ‘Start a new application’ and choose £10,000-£250,000 as the range to apply for.
  • Insert #Digital8 (including the hash symbol) at the start of your project title to help us correctly identify your application.
  • When filling in your application, please consider the feedback you received on your project enquiry, this guidance and the application guidance. Please also note the advice below:
    • For the question ‘Why does your project need to happen now?’, the need for this funding was identified in the Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (DASH) survey. In your answer for this question please tell us about any needs that have shaped your project plan and why you are the right organisation to meet those needs.
    • For the question ‘Why is your project important to your community? you can answer “not applicable” or “N/A”.

Refer to the full list of valid programme outcomes. Please note all applications must state how they will meet the mandatory outcome – without this we cannot consider your proposal for funding. 

  • 16 August 2021 (12 noon) – deadline for submitting Project Enquiry Form 
  • 31 August 2021 – feedback on the Project Enquiry Form provided
  • 27 September 2021 (12 noon) – deadline for submitting full applications 
  • week commencing 8 November 2021 – Digital Campaign assessment panel meeting  
  • 18 November 2021 – applicants notified of decisions 

£10,000 to £250,000 application guidance:
Information and advice for how to write a strong proposal. You should follow this when submitting your application, except where the instructions above specifically tell you to do something different. All terms in this guidance will apply to your project.

Project plan templates 
Templates for our recommended way to create your project plan.

Standard terms of grant £10,000-£100,000
Our terms and conditions for grants of this size.

Good practice guidance
To help you plan and deliver your heritage project. 

Full cost recovery
If you are an organisation in the voluntary sector, we could help cover some of your overhead costs.

The Heritage Fund is distributing Digital Skills for Heritage, on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). 


Changes to this guidance

We will regularly review this guidance and respond to user feedback. We reserve the right to make changes as required. We will communicate any changes as quickly as possible via this webpage.

If you query is regarding our application portal, please contact our support team.