Newsletter #7: How much does a website cost?

To encourage transparency, we're publishing prices for previous projects

Notes from the boats 

Thanks to everyone who joined our nautical adventure. Wonderful to see friends old and new! Here’s some pics from our voyage.

💰 All our projects

We’ve indiscreetly started sharing prices and timeframes on our projects page. We hope this will help pro-social organisations better understand what’s possible and what they should be paying for digital projects. (And because no-code is so goddam cost effective, we want to tell the world.)

🌳 CivTech 

SIDE has won a place on the CivTech Accelerator. We are using Voice AI to streamline the operations of Citizens Advice Scotland. Scottish is a notoriously tricky accent for AI, so we are doing lots of training and testing. If you are a native Scot, we’ll plant 100 trees in return for 15 minutes of your lovely accent.

🌐 New project for the web’s inventor 

We have been commissioned to build a Webflow site for Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation. My 10-year-old asked: ‘Is that like being asked to make a football for the inventor of football?’ It most certainly is, my son! Excited and honoured to be involved.


🦉 No-code nuggets we’re sharing on Slack


📬 Thanks for reading

If you enjoyed reading, please forward this newsletter to a friend. If you didn’t, tell us.

The SIDE crew!

🙏

Newsletter #6: Set sail with SIDE

Join the SIDE team and set sail for Regent's Park

⚓️ Join our nautical adventure

18 months ago, SIDE cast off from the shores of non-existence. As a belated launch party, we are commandeering a small flotilla of GoBoats on Tuesday 5th October, 4:30pm. We set sail from Paddington. Come join us! View event details and RSVP.

🧰 New Webflow project: Funders’ Collaborative Hub

Our friends at Shift shared this brief with us 3 weeks ago. Our job is to help redesign and rebuild the Funder’s Collaborative Hub website in Webflow. We kicked off this week. We’re hoping to launch by mid-November, keep your eyes peeled for then.

📝Project write-up: Going Green Together

We’ve opened up everything about our latest no-code project, Going Green Together. The brief, the proposal, the costs. Here’s how we designed it, built it, and worked with our client.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿Notes from CivTech Exploration

We just completed CivTech’s 3-week Exploration programme. CivTech is a really excellent Scottish programme to drive ‘daring and innovation in the public sector’. It deserves to be celebrated. Read more: Government innovation, done right. (And🤞that we make it to the next stage.)

🎓 Academy success stories

Maryan was part of our Academy 2020. She now works for Cyber-Duck as a UX Designer and recently gave a talk on no-code – big congrats Maryan. Shivy (budding ceramicist) & Elizabeth (aspiring Climate Designer) have just graduated from Academy 2021 and have joined SIDE permanently. Welcome to the tribe!


🦉 Things we’re sharing in our Slack


📬 Thanks for reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading, please forward this newsletter to a friend.

The SIDE crew!

🙏

Newsletter #5: Impact with no-code

Project updates from our new office: Impact Hub King's Cross.

🏢 New office: Impact Hub King’s Cross

After months of trialling co-working spaces in London, we’ve settled on Impact Hub King’s Cross. The plan is to work there two days per week and from home three days per week. We’re already loving the community vibes (and yoga).

💚 New project: Going Green Together

We’re working with VONNE to help charities in the north east go green. di:ga are helping develop a comms and engagement strategy. This is a 10-week project, powered by a suite of no-code tools. Launching mid-September.

🤲 New project: Chayn

Chayn is a global nonprofit supporting survivors of gender-based violence. We’ve always admired their mission and no-code approach. We’re kindred spirits, for sure, and we’re happy to build the new Chayn website in Webflow. (And in related news, we just became official Webflow expert partners.)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 New project: CivTech Challenge

This 3-week project is part of an accelerator run by CivTech. Challenge: How can we create the most local and best possible user experience for people engaging with the Citizens Advice Scotland network?

✍️ How to communicate well with a digital agency

We delivered a series of masterclasses with CAST. These help charities understand how to work well with digital agencies. Andy wrote up the  highlights: How to communicate well with a digital agency.

🌈 Our big idea: Migrant Services

Over the last year we’ve worked with a handful of migrant charities. We’ve seen the same information problems recurring  - resulting in migrants getting bounced from one support organisation to another. We’ve got an idea how to solve those problems on a sector-wide basis. Migrant Services is the first step. Self-funded for now. We’d love any help or thoughts on how to scale this plan.

🦉 Things we’re sharing in Slack


🙌 Thanks for reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading, please forward this newsletter to a friend. If you want to chat, just email Noam or Andy. Find out more about SIDE Labs.

Hope you’re enjoying summer. See you again in a few weeks! ☀️

Going on a SIDE Mission

Further explorations in using tech to make the world a less bad place


Hello all! 👋

A quick update from SIDE Labs:

  1. We are delighted to welcome Shivy and Elizabeth to SIDE Academy 2021, our no-experience-required apprentice scheme. Their first task: learn Webflow. They created this lovely new SIDE Academy page

  2. SIDE Missions: we now spend Fridays trying to launch a socially beneficial digital product. In the first month, we’ve been exploring ideas for Migrant Communities or Climate Action. We’d love to hear any feedback about our thoughts in either area.

  3. We’ve been working with 6 charities to improve the way they use digital.

  4. We’ve done a batch of work for Refugee Action: further developing their Good Practice site (in Webflow), building an Immigration Advisor Handbook (in Gitbook), and creating a Single Point of Access prototype (coming soon, in Webflow and Typeform). Yes, we are still loving no-code. 😂

  5. We created this Agencies for Good page, harnessing Noam’s twin passions of Webflow and emojis.

SIDE are always looking for new partners and opportunities to make an impact. Fancy a chat? Get in touch.

Cheerio

Andy and all at SIDE x

2020 in review, our hopes for 2021

Launching Academy 2021 and more...

Greetings 👋 

2020 was a whopping big year at SIDE:

  1. Our Covid response work at Refugee Action won them a nomination for Charity of the Year

  2. Our Digital Candle service made over 300 introductions between charities and volunteer tech experts – saving a few hairs being lost, countless hours Googling and probably a fair bit of money as well. 

  3. It was a bugbear that there is no central list of #techforgood agencies. In 2021 we did something about it: meet Dovetail

  4. We went on a spiritual, emotional, but mostly design journey with 10 wonderful charities, guiding them through a digital discovery programme, in collaboration with Catalyst.

  5. We grew 150% from two people to five, bringing in two talented digital apprentices – Jaymie and Maryan – in our inaugural SIDE Academy cohort

SIDE was still only a blob in 2019, so it was perhaps inevitable that 2020 seemed big by comparison.

Here are our hopes for 2021: 

🍒 No-code 

In 2020, we delivered projects using a veritable smorgasbord (our word of 2020) of no-code tools including Webflow, Glide, Typeform and GitBook.

We are hugely excited about no-code. It increases the benefits and reduces the costs of implementing software – making it quicker, more equitable and user-friendly. It also changes the skills required from a digital agency… which is where SIDE Academy fits in nicely.

Because no-code keeps improving, it is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s a train we are excited to be on board. 

📈 SIDE Academy 2021

A highlight of 2020 was SIDE Academy, our ‘no experience required’ training scheme, designed to help young talent break into Tech For Good. 

Everyone is a winner with Academy:

  • Charities get talented young no-coders to work on their problems.

  • Academy trainees get the chance to work on interesting, worthwhile projects right at the start of their career.

  • We get to work with fantastic young talent, preventing us from getting too crusty in lockdown. 

A couple of things Academy has taught us:

1. Prior to launching SIDE Academy, I was nervous about anything that smacked of positive discrimination. Six months on, I’m more aware of how first opportunities like these are distributed very inequitably. And that is a problem because your first opportunities have a huge impact on your career trajectory.

2. There is a bottleneck. Charities don’t provide that first tech job because they don’t have the skills or capacity. Agencies struggle because it is too risky making long-term commitments when their contracts are short-term. Experienced contractors earn a fortune; inexperienced individuals struggle to get a start. (A fortunate side effect is this disparity in wages makes Academy self-financing.)

We start recruiting for Academy 2021 today. If you know anyone who might be suitable, point them to the Academy 2021 page. Or we’d appreciate any shares on Linkedin or Twitter.  

🤲  Effective Altruism

Having spent a year in charity land, it amazes me that I’ve not heard anyone talk about Effective Altruism. Not even once. 

How wild is this fact?

“One additional unit of income can do a hundred times as much to benefit the extreme poor as it can to benefit you or I. It's not often you have two options, one of which is a hundred times better than the other. Imagine a happy hour where you could either buy yourself a beer for $5 or buy someone else a beer for 5¢. If that were the case, we'd probably be pretty generous – next round's on me! But that's effectively the situation we're in all the time.”

writes Will MacAskill in Doing Good Better. (Or in podcast form, Will is great from minute 30 on Waking Up with Sam Harris.)

I used to assume that the relationship between Effective Altruism and charities was something like the relationship between startups and incumbents. Startups either force the incumbents to improve, or they replace them. In reality, they are different worlds, with no communication between them. There must be ways to bridge the gap.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2021? We’d love to hear. 

Best wishes

Andy

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