Section 4: Key Actions within 1 Month of Disaster



Develop a fundraising plan

Who does this: member/country programme, with support from IHART and International Fundraising

Based on the Emergency Programme Plan and budget showing funding gaps, the member/country programme will prepare a fundraising plan, with support from IHART and International Fundraising. The Hive contains a template for this fundraising plan. Based on this information, the member/country programme will prepare funding proposals with technical support from IHART and International Fundraising.

An important part of the fundraising plan is identifying and prioritising potential donors who might fund the emergency (called donor scoping). This process can be started before an emergency, by identifying key humanitarian donors at a national, regional and international level, and finding out information about what they fund, their requirements and the process for applying. It is also important to start building relationships with donors before an emergency, so that they are aware of ActionAid’s humanitarian work and view us as a credible partner in emergencies.

Some of the key humanitarian donors include:

  • AusAID

  • Danida

  • DFID

  • ECHO

  • Irish Aid

  • SIDA

  • UN agencies

  • trusts & foundations

  • collective fundraising from public appeals (e.g. AGIRE, DEC etc).

Annex 11 contains a quick reference guide with more information about these donors. It also contains a template and advice on donor scoping and relationship building.

Submit proposals to institutional donors, trusts and major donors

Who does this: member/country programme and fundraising affiliates, with support of International Fundraising and IHART

Fundraising will be co-ordinated through IHART in the initial weeks of a disaster, except in the case of some institutional donor fundraising where specific information is needed or support required by the affected country (e.g. DFID; ECHO; DEC), in which case IHART will be kept informed. International Fundraising/IPD will advise and support fundraising countries on fundraising activities relevant to their market. IHART will liaise with the International Communications Team and the affected country to ensure that information and communications content requirements for fundraising are met.

IHART will share regular updates on the disaster response with the wider federation (including situation reports, rapid and needs assessment reports, Emergency Response and Resilience Building Plan). Fundraising affiliates will then be expected to submit proposals to appropriate donors within their countries, including institutional donors, trusts, foundations and major donors. Affiliates should link with IHART in the first instance to share information on planned fundraising and to request additional information needed from the member/country programme. They should also ask IHART to review proposals before submitting, to check for technical accuracy and accordance with ActionAid’s human rights-based approach in emergencies. IHART will liaise with the member/county programme on behalf of the fundraising affiliate, and will facilitate direct contact where appropriate.

The member/country programme is responsible for submitting proposals to multilateral donors, including the EU and UN agencies, with the support of International Fundraising. IHART should review proposals before submission to check for technical accuracy and accordance with ActionAid’s rights-based approach in emergencies. IHART will liaise with the member/county programme on behalf of International Fundraising, and will facilitate direct contact where appropriate.

The decision on whether to apply for funding opportunities remains with the member/country programme. In some cases, the member/country programme may not wish to apply for smaller grants that have a high burden of reporting requirements. In orange and red alert level disasters, the Oversight Group will provide advice and review decisions to decline funding.

ECHO emergency financing decision

ECHO emergency financing decisions apply both to new crises and established humanitarian crises where humanitarian response is already under way, but where continuing uncertainty and instability requires an appropriate, rapid and flexible response, e.g. where there are sudden deteriorating weather conditions within a natural disaster situation (a crisis within a crisis). Emergency financing decisions allocate up to EUR 10,000,000 in total, for actions that are limited to a maximum of six months.

At this stage of the emergency, ECHO assumes that the situation will have calmed down somewhat from the initial stages, so unlike with primary emergency financing decisions, for emergency financing decisions ALL sections of the ECHO Single Form must be completed.

ECHO may publish the emergency funding decision on their website – although it is always good practice for colleagues in the disaster-affected country to link directly with in-country ECHO representatives in person or on the phone to check as to whether this funding is likely to be made available/has been made available.

Once written, the emergency funding decision proposal must be submitted by ActionAid UK (as the ‘owner’ of the ECHO relationship for the whole ActionAid federation) using ECHO’s online information exchange platform, known as ‘Appel’. Note ECHO will not accept applications submitted directly by the ActionAid member/country programme in the affected country. (Please note this is different from the process for EU proposals, which are submitted directly by the member/country programme.)

Please refer to the ECHO emergency funding decision table to see what actions need to be taken by different parts of the federation in order to respond to the launching of an ECHO emergency funding decision.

High value fundraising

General good practice:

  • have specific members of the team who are responsible for leading on emergency fundraising

  • have a protocol for your team outlining roles, responsibilities and timelines for actions, with clear follow up plans, when launching a fundraising appeal for high value

  • have an agreed disclaimer prepared explaining to donors that 10% of emergency donations go to the DPRF to support future emergencies

  • have an up-to-date list ready for trusts and foundations, and major donors who have a specific interest in supporting emergencies and/or have funded emergency appeals in the past – this can then be downloaded quickly in the event of an emergency and an initial appeal can be sent within 12 hours ideally

  • set up templates for emails, letters and proposals based on previous emergency appeals, which can be customised to the relevant emergency when it occurs

  • get emergency appeals out to donors as soon as possible for red alert emergencies (ideally within 12 hours) – even if this is just very basic information to say it has happened and ActionAid is responding, it can be followed up with a more detailed appeal when more information is available.

1. Response within the first 72 hours following a disaster


  • Prepare and send initial email/written communication (first 12 hours) – to include picture or map, basic facts and estimate of how many people affected. “We are working there and scoping out the need – please call us if you are able to support our response. We will be in touch shortly with more information.”

  • Follow up call where appropriate to trusts/major donors (within 72 hours).

  • Start writing a general appeal mailing/proposal, which can be sent out to a wide range of high value donors (within 72 hours).

  • Start writing bespoke donor proposals with more detailed information (72 hours to a week).

  • Follow up with trusts/major donors contacted initially with more detailed information on the emergency and our response (use proposals prepared above).

  • Follow up call to trusts/major donors where appropriate to check whether they received the application and ask if they would like any further information (after a week).

  • In all communications with donors try and emphasise ActionAid’s point difference in emergencies: our rights-based approach, participatory approaches to involve communities in the emergency response, our long-term presence in communities etc.

NB: ensure agreed disclaimers are included in written communications and that donors are aware of contribution to DPRF.

Information required:

  • Sitrep from IHART – basic information on the emergency situation, numbers affected, what ActionAid is doing/planning to do to respond, and funds required if available.

  • Strong photograph and case study of someone who has been affected to use in proposals and donor communications.

  • Quote from IHART/staff member in country affected by emergency.

NB: we co-ordinate with other fundraising teams when compiling emergency content as our information needs are likely to be similar.

2. Response within the first month following a disaster


  • Follow up with donors contacted initially but who have not donated – emphasise still need their support.

  • Thank donors who have supported the emergency and provide them with an update on how ActionAid has responded.

Information required:

  • Detailed budgets for bespoke applications.

  • More detailed/updated sitrep.

  • More comprehensive Emergency Response and Resilience Building Plan, including long-term plans.

  • Updates on how ActionAid has been responding, how many people reached to date.

  • Case studies and photos of people/communities we have reached.

3. Response six months and beyond


  • Send six month update to those who supported the emergency.

Information required:

  • Updates on how ActionAid has been responding, how many people reached to date.

  • Case studies and photos of people/communities we have reached.

  • Outline of long-term response plan.