EXTERNAL EVALUATION OF THE START FUND PREPAREDNESS TO SCALE-UP
25 March 2020
This external evaluation was commissioned to ‘assess the preparedness of Start Fund to scale-up its operations and suggest future growth rate scenarios’. The overarching purpose of the evaluation is stated as two-fold:
Assess the preparedness of the Start Fund to scale up its operation;
Inform the Start Fund of the appropriate scale-up considerations (including the size and growth rate scenarios).
What are the external factors that will influence the scaling up of the Start Fund considering a shifting humanitarian financing landscape and how should the Start Fund ensure the ongoing support of donors going forward? An overview of the external environment reveals no impediments to an expanded Start Fund. The overall analysis, however, suggests that the Start Fund is seen by donors as a complement to their primary funding streams. They are supportive of the growth as long as performance in the current niche continues. Is there room for the Start Fund to expand within its current niche i.e. in general terms is there an unfilled, operational gap within this niche?
The analysis was done under the following three growth scenarios:
Scenario 1: Incremental growth i.e.15, 18, 20 million GBP (from a current annual revenue of 12/13 million GBP, this represents a growth of approximately 25%, 50% or 67%).
Under Scenario 1 there was consensus that the Start Fund could grow without significantly altering current Start Fund processes. There are foundational weaknesses that require addressing currently and under any growth scenario. These include the need for automation of existing processes and uneven member engagement in current decision-making.
Scenario 2: Significant growth to 36 - 40 million in 3-5 years (approximately 300% growth)
Under Scenario 2 respondents saw the need to mobilise a greater number of alerts to increase demand (including a focus on regions currently underserved); strengthen systems and structures; simplify processes in addition to automation); make changes to the allocation size and or niche, and to strengthen member engagement.
Scenario 3: Rapid growth to 100 million in 3-5 years (approximately 800% growth)
Under scenario 3 there was a consensus that current processes would not be viable. In the absence of a clear understanding of the relationship between the global funds and prospective hubs meant that the answers to process-related questions were unclear.
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