How the Start Fund helps to leverage additional support for under-the-radar crises
Since 2017 the Start Fund reporting systems have included a section on the leveraging of additional funds. This is where agencies that received a Start Fund award report back on whether they were able to secure additional funding, the sources of these funds and how much their success could be attributed to the Start Fund.
In 2018, 107 projects were funded across 52 crises (Alerts 204 to 285). Of these, 60 projects reported that they had sought further funding, with 52 being successful in securing some of the funds they applied for. In addition, 4 projects received unsolicited internal funding.
The total amount secured in additional funding was reported to be £64 million. This was more than five times the amount that was awarded by the Start Fund in the first place (12 million).
Just over half of the projects securing additional funding had received this from more than one source. Internal seed funding was the major source of the additional funds secured (42 per cent of sources) but a significant proportion was also funded by the UN. The amounts varied considerably, with one award, £37 million from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), being responsible for more than half of the total 64 million secured.
For most of the additional funding, success was at some level attributed to the Start Fund, meaning that for every pound that the Start Fund disbursed in 2018 an additional 5 pounds was raised for these emergencies. This confirms Start Fund's role not only as a stop-gap filler but also as a facilitator for securing additional funds.
It is clear that Start Fund's impact goes well beyond the funding awards it makes. It is also likely that the amounts of additional funding secured are underestimates given that the reporting period is just one-month post-completion, so any funding applied for after this is not captured; only three additional sources are requested, though this has now been modified to five going forward; and only the members that are funded report back, whereas project leads mention instances where Start Fund projects helped other actors secure funding.
Furthermore, there are also cases where the Start Fund award opened up support for similar opportunities which were not originally listed in the report form. One example is Alert 267, where the Peru World Vision National Office later reported back to Head Office that the Start Fund was a good opener for other funding related to Cash Transfer projects in this area, with a recent award from OFDA of over 6 million dollars for these types of activities.
The Start Fund has a unique niche, targeting under-the-radar crisis, and the support it provides to agencies assisting affected communities can help raise the profile of these forgotten crises. Going forward, the Start Network aims to evaluate further the impact that the Start Fund has in addressing the needs of crisis-affected communities beyond just the immediate award it makes to its member agencies.