We are delighted to announce that, despite stiff competition from the likes of Cancer Research, Microsoft and WaterAid, Lunchbox scooped GOLD at the DMA awards in the ‘Best Creative Solution or Innovation’ category.

Created just a year into our Earnest Labs adventure, the aim of Lunchbox was to take on the biggest challenge of all – changing the way people give to charity and ultimately making it easier for the public to make a big difference with just one small gesture.

Quite apart from the honour of collecting the Gold Award in front of some of the biggest and best agencies and brands in the world, we’re particularly proud of the win for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we set up Earnest Labs to do something genuinely different and interesting. While there are a whole host of ‘agency labs’ out there that merely constitute a few blog posts, we wanted to create thinking and products that genuinely make a difference to businesses and the wider world, and this award is recognition that we are achieving that.

Secondly, we wanted our lab to be a place where anyone could spot a problem and find a solution (without necessarily having a brief from a client first). Lunchbox was an idea we came up with and then actively took to a charity – proving you may often have the answer to a problem businesses don’t even know they have. Don’t be shy to let them know about it.

Finally, and most importantly, the donations from the taps on the Lunchboxes across London and Oxfordshire have paid for over 20,000 lunches in the developing world for children just like these guys – proof that businesses who think creatively can do some real good in the world.

So, where next?

The whole concept of contactless donation is still (bizarrely) in its infancy. This means two things: due to the reams of paper work and bureaucracy it’s a huge pain in the arse to get set up and – like any innovation in its early days – it’s hugely expensive.

Our mission for 2017 is to be the people who lead the charge in growing contactless donations – both through Lunchbox and hopefully by helping other charities that could benefit from using contactless donations to break down a number of the barriers they will probably face.

We’re planning to roll out more Lunchboxes in shops across London and the UK and even hope to branch out to create Bookbox and Shoebox to further help support education in the developing world.

Earnest Labs will also be continuing to help charities set up their own contactless donation programmes – consulting on everything from coming up with the fundraising campaign idea through to roll out. If you’re interested in finding out more about this then please get in touch.

It’s been a corker of a year in 2016 for Earnest Labs and this award really was the cherry on top. We’re excited about what next year has in store. If you want to follow our progress you can do so here.

Finally, thanks for all the support for Lunchbox in the forms of kind comments, tweets and daily taps.

Merry Christmas.