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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 that is external to your organisation, 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); the emergency you are seeking to address must be external rather than internal. 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 applicant group or network
  • Is this your group/network’s first application to the Rapid Response Fund?
  • 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? (This is the paragraph that will go into the email to funders if your application is recommended for funding, so it needs to be compelling enough to get them to open up the full application.)
  • Name and contact details of lead contact for this proposal
  • Your organisation’s website, if it has one
  • How is your organisation constituted? If it is a charity, please provide your charity number.
  • If your organisation is a charity, are you registered with HMRC to recieve Gift Aid?
  • 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).
  • Is your organisation led by a board and staff team whose members predominantly identify as belonging to racially marginalised communities? (This question is to help us monitor to what extent the Rapid Response Fund is supporting organisations led by racially marginalised groups. It will not be used by the review panel to assess your application, but if your application is accepted, we will share your response with participating funders, together with your responses to the other questions.)
  • 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, are you working with a charitable partner who would be able to receive funds on your behalf? (This is a preferable option for certain donors and will increase the chances of your proposal receiving funding.) If so please give their name and payment details, and state if they are registered with HMRC to receive Gift Aid.
  • Please let us know if you would accept funding from the following:
  • Full proposal (please keep your answers as succinct as possible while ensuring you cover the information requested):
  1. What opportunity or crisis you are responding to, and why is this urgent – i.e. why you must respond now? Why couldn’t you have anticipated this situation or its timing? (It’s important that you respond to all of these points, as these are the key criteria that your application must fulfil in order to be accepted.)
  2. What are you proposing to do, what do you hope will be the result, and what are the risks if you don’t take this action?
  3. Why is your organisation particularly well-suited to respond? Are you aware of other groups working on this issue, and if so, how does your work relate to theirs?
  4. Explain how 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.
  5. What are the key risks to successfully accomplishing the work?
  6. Specify where (geographically) the work will take place, if not already mentioned above.

Apply here.