A FUNDING MECHANISM TO HELP ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS RESPOND QUICKLY TO CRISES OR OPPORTUNITIES
Over the years, and particularly in response to our 2017 survey of chief executives, leaders in the environment sector have told EFN that having rapid access to funds would strengthen environmental work in the UK. Quick access to funds would help organisations respond swiftly to unexpected crises and opportunities in ways they have often been unable to do in the past due to a lack of readily available resources.
In 2018, we solicited feedback on this idea with a range of other leaders in the sector, as well as with funders at EFN’s annual retreat, and found general consensus that such a fund was a sensible way to add value to and improve the effectiveness of the sector.
Examples of the kinds of unexpected situations that have called for fast responses from the environment sector in the past include: the horsemeat scandal; the foot & mouth crisis; fuel duty protests; President Obama’s microbead ban (opening an opportunity for action on microbeads and plastics more generally on this side of the Atlantic); catastrophic natural and human-caused events, such as floods and oil spills; the public’s extraordinary reaction to Blue Planet II; unexpected gifts in the form of leaked classified information; the 2007 financial crash – and, of course, Brexit.
To support future environmental work responding to such key moments in time, we have established this ‘Rapid Response Fund’. Based on funder feedback, we decided not to attempt to create a pooled fund, but instead to coordinate a group of interested funders through an email list.
Applications will be 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 will be shared with funders on the email list to assess. They will be encouraged to respond quickly, funding the applicants directly but letting the other funders know how much they have awarded so that the total amount outstanding can be tracked. Organisations that receive funding through this platform will be asked to report back to EFN, which will pass the reports on to funders in order to simplify and streamline the reporting process.
We are running this platform as an experiment and will review how it is working after a year. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback.