Stars including Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason have backed Lightful to change how charities interact with their supporters.
The London-based ethical social media management platform, which will engage in a charity tech hackathon with its partners at Comic Relief later this month, has raised £4 million in a Series A funding round.
Available via desktop or via apps for iOS & Android, the platform has already attracted more than 1,800 sign-ups from charities, individuals and ‘tech for good’ organisations.
Pink Floyd founding member Mason, the only constant in the band over the last 53 years and an investor in Lightful, said: “Many charities have been hampered by time-consuming tasks and budget constraints which inhibit progress.
“The Lightful concept is easing some of these fundamental issues, and this is exemplified by the sheer number of organisations signing up to the platform.
“I’m excited to see what the next few months have in store.”
Fellow backer and motorsport legend Dario Franchitti – a four-times IndyCar champion who won the Indianapolis 500 three times – said that it is important for charities to keep up with rapid changes in the media.
“It’s vital that charities learn to connect with their audiences in a way which is simple, yet effective,” the Briton said.
“Lightful’s platform caters to this perfectly, offering a really innovative tech solution that could reinvent the dialogue between great causes and the everyday people who support them.”
Lightful’s other high-profile backers include renowned entrepreneurs Jeffrey Thomas and Annika Small, who was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for services to social innovation and digital technology.
“Charities and social enterprises have some of the best stories to tell, and we are excited that Lightful can help grow the potential of using social media for social good – we certainly need that to happen now more than ever,” said CEO and co-founder Vinay Nair.
“That’s why we’re also spearheading a widespread movement to #ReclaimSocial, so that countless examples of positive and high-impact stories can be amplified.
“With claims that social media is destroying society and acting as a purveyor of hate speech, there’s clearly a significant opportunity to bring about change – and we believe the social impact space has a vital role to play.
“With the fantastic support from our incredible investors, we’re excited to try to make 2018 the year we can finally reclaim social media – for good.”
By integrating with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Lightful has created a single, unified platform that enables charities and social enterprises to effectively manage their social media content, supporter relationships and campaigns from a single intuitive dashboard.
Alongside its core platform, Lightful is also investing in a full-service digital consultancy called Lightful Services, to address the lack of innovation in the sector and build bespoke technology solutions (e.g. community portals, donation pages for digital fundraising campaigns) for clients including London’s Air Ambulance, The Big Give and School for Social Entrepreneurs.
With stringent regulations facing charities – from GDPR to the new Fundraising Regulator – the services are designed to help charities adapt and thrive in the digital age, at a time when they are under more scrutiny and yet have greater than ever demands on their services.
The Series A funding will also help power Lightful’s R&D division, Lightful Labs, which is trialling experiential technology including artificial intelligence, machine learning, bots and voice recognition.