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Rapid Response Fund: application guidelines

Please read this background information about how and why the Rapid Response Fund was established, and review the application guidelines below carefully before proceeding with an application. We are receiving increasing numbers of applications that do not meet the criteria, in particular applications responding to situations that were not unanticipated, or to address cash-flow issues specific to the applicant organisation. We will not be able to accept such applications as they do not fit with the purpose of the Rapid Response Fund.


Urgency: EFN welcomes applications for work that will help your organisation, collaboration or initiative seize an unexpected opportunity or react to an unexpected crisis, allowing you to secure a significant environmental ‘win’ that would not otherwise be possible. The specific event or situation to which your organisation is responding must not have been possible to anticipate, and it must be the case that action needs to happen quickly in order to be effective. Actions must be implemented within three months of securing funding.

Location: Work can be anywhere in the world, but the applicant organisation must be UK-based.

Issues: We welcome applications for work on all environmental issues, but will give preference to work on thematic issues that EFN research has found to be less well funded, in particular a) trade and finance, b) consumption and waste, c) toxics and pollution, d) transport and e) fresh water.

Approaches: EFN research has indicated that the UK environment sector thinks more resources are needed for a) policy and advocacy work, b) ‘movement-building’ involving work engaging with the grassroots and civil society coordination and c) communications work with a greater focus on attitudes, behaviours and values. In addition, our conversations with sector leaders have indicated that funds are often needed urgently for work related to legal action. We will give preference to proposals for work using these approaches.

Exclusions: We will not accept applications that are intended to address funding crises specific to your organisation (e.g. emergency cash-flow funding). We will not accept applications to provide match funding, except in cases where the rest of the criteria are met.

Maximum request: £25,000, noting that the average amount requested is around £15,000 and the average amount raised is £10,000.

The application questions are listed below – answers to which must be submitted using the online application form. The form cannot be saved part way through, so once you begin, you will need to answer all the questions and submit the form. We recommend preparing your answers offline and copying and pasting them into the online form when you are ready. Applications should be completed in English.


APPLICATION QUESTIONS (submit using the online application form)

  • Date of application
  • Name of your organisation or network
  • Title of the project you’re seeking funding for
  • Summary (120 words max): What do you need the funding for, why is it urgent/why was it not possible to anticipate, and what will happen as a result of the funded work? (Note: this is the paragraph that will go into the email to funders if your application is shared, so it needs to be compelling enough to persuade them to open up the full application.)
  • Name and contact details of lead contact for this proposal within your organisation
  • How is your organisation constituted? If it is a charity, please provide your charity number.
  • If your organisation is not a charity, please provide your organisation’s registered address, including postcode, and its tax reference number (this information may be required by certain funders for the purpose of reporting to HMRC).
  • What amount are you requesting? (Maximum £25,000; note that the average amount requested is around £15,000 and the average amount raised is £10,000.)
  • If you are not able to raise the full amount you are requesting, what is the minimum amount you would need to make progress? If you specify a minimum, please ensure that you describe what this amount would and wouldn’t enable you to achieve in your full proposal below.
  • What is the best way for you to receive funds? If via bank transfer, please either include your bank details here or email them to If via cheque, please indicate here to whom or which organisation the cheque should be made out and the address to which it should be sent.
  • If you are not a registered charity, but are working with a charitable partner who would be able to receive funds on your behalf, please indicate that here and give their payment details (this is a preferable option for certain donors and will increase the chances of your proposal receiving funding).
  • Full proposal (1500 words max – the shorter and more succinct, the better). Please cover the following in your proposal:
  1. What opportunity or crisis you are responding to
  2. Why this situation or its timing couldn’t have been anticipated
  3. Why this is urgent – i.e. why you must respond now
  4. What you are you proposing to do
  5. What you hope will be the result and what are the risks if you don’t take this action
  6. Why your organisation is particularly well-suited to respond
  7. Who else is working on this issue, how your work relates to theirs and, if you are collaborating, how
  8. How precisely the funds will be spent (include a timetable if possible), including details of how you would spend the minimum viable amount (if you specified this above) and what this minimum amount would and wouldn’t enable you to achieve
  9. What the key risks are to successfully accomplishing the work
  10. Where (geographically) the work will take place.

Apply here.