Start Fund

Filling a gap in the humanitarian sector

The Start Fund provides rapid financing to underfunded small to medium scale crises, spikes in chronic humanitarian crises, and to act in anticipation of impending crises, filling a critical gap in humanitarian financing.


Start Fund> Alerts| Crisis Response Summaries| Start Fund COVID-19| Start Fund Bangladesh| Start Fund Nepal| Anticipation| Guidance| Learning

About the Fund

The first multi-donor pooled fund managed exclusively by NGOs

The Start Fund is collectively owned and managed by Start Network’s members, and supported by the governments of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Jersey and the IKEA Foundation. 

Projects are chosen by local committees, made up of staff from Start Network members and their partners, within 72 hours of an alert. This makes the Start Fund the fastest, collectively-owned, early response mechanism in the world.


Focusing on three types of humanitarian need



Underfunded small to medium scale crises

Spikes in chronic humanitarian emergencies

Forecast and early action for impending crises

The Start Fund timeline

Filling the Gap


Figures about the Start Fund since its inception in April 2014.
Read more in the Start Network annual report.

People reached


People reached

Crisis alerts raised


Crisis alerts raised

Crises responded to


Crises responded to

Average hours between alert and response (excluding anticipatory responses)


Average hours between alert and response (excluding anticipatory responses)

Responses in # countries


Responses in # countries

Pounds disbursed


Pounds disbursed

Latest news


The Start Fund: Value and Uniqueness

The Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled humanitarian funding mechanism, managed exclusively by international and national non-governmental organisations (INGOs/NNGOs). As its membership has expanded, the frequency of alerts has risen, tools and systems have improved, governance has been restructured, and evidence and learning pro-cesses have been strengthened. In its sixth year of operation, by August 2020 the Start Fund had awarded over £71m and demand was seen to be at an all-time high. Past independent evaluations of the Start Fund and its performance have concluded that it is a successful and unique funding mechanism that has added significant value to, and has great potential to reform, the humanitarian financing system.


Blog Post

TOGO : Lutte contre le COVID-19 dans 51 ecoles de Dankpen

A la date du 6 décembre 2020, le Togo comptait 3 095 cas confirmés de COVID-19, dont 65 décès. Dans un premier temps, le gouvernement a pris des mesures pour réduire la transmission du virus, notamment en fermant les écoles. Le 15 juin, les écoles ont été rouvertes uniquement pour les classes d’examens pour permettre aux élèves de passer les examens de fin d'année.


Blog Post

TOGO: Tackling COVID-19 in 51 Dankpen Schools

As of 6 December 2020, Togo had 3,095 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 65 deaths. Initially, the government took steps to reduce transmission of the virus, including by closing schools. However, on 15 June, schools were reopened to allow students to take end-of-year exams.


News Article

UK Aid provides £12m to support the Start Fund

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced today that it would provide a further £12m to support the Start Fund. The funding will enable frontline actors across Start Network’s members and partners to continue to respond rapidly to and in anticipation of under-the-radar humanitarian crises. The FCDO also agreed to work with Start Network in its transition to a global network of ‘hubs’, which will facilitate locally-led responses and improve NGO access to more innovative financing that will mitigate humanitarian impacts, both protecting and assisting people affected by crises.