The Environmental Funders Network (EFN) established a ‘Rapid Response Fund’ (RRF) in 2018 to support groups trying to seize unexpected opportunities or respond to unforeseen crises with a significant environmental outcome. This came after environmental leaders had told EFN that environmental action in the UK would benefit greatly from having access to rapidly available funds to adapt and react to unpredictable crises and opportunities.
Rather than a pooled fund, EFN have coordinated a group of interested funders who receive applications from groups that have been screened and recommended by a group of reviewers.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a small advisory group of funders. Those that meet the criteria set out in the application guidelines are shared with all participating funders. They are encouraged to respond quickly, funding the applicants directly but letting the other funders know how much they have awarded (which they can do anonymously if they wish) so that the total amount outstanding can be tracked. The maximum amount that can currently be requested is £25,000, and funders can make donations of any size towards the total amount requested.
Organisations that receive funding through the RRF are asked to submit a short report after six months, detailing what they did with the funding, what they achieved, any learnings, and what will happen next. These reports are submitted to EFN, which then passes them on to funders in order to simplify and streamline the reporting process.
Examples of initiatives supported by the RRF can be found here.