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.


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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 British, Irish, Dutch and Belgian governments and the European Commission.

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

New/unforeseen humanitarian needs that cannot be responded to under current programming

Emergence of new vulnerable groups not covered under ongoing programmes

Clear systemic gaps that are currently not covered under ongoing programmes but have a high impact on the beneficiaries affected

The Start Fund niche

Filling the Gap


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

People reached


People reached

Crises responded to


Crises responded to

Alerts raised


Alerts raised

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

Blog Post

Start Fund: A rapid response to flooding in El Salvador

In early October, heavy rainfall from two low pressure systems led to devastating flash floods and landslides in El Salvador.  More than a 1000 people were forced to leave their homes as rivers burst their banks, mudslides in the country’s hilly interior cut roads, buried buildings, and flooded homes.


Blog Post

Start Fund responds to cross-border displacement of people from Venezuela

The economic crisis and widespread social unrest that has gripped Venezuela in recent years has led to the displacement of millions of Venezuelans. Families, in search of economic and social security, have fled across borders into neighbouring Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. The Start Fund is filling a critical gap in this under-funded socio-economic crisis to respond to the needs of those displaced in Peru and Ecuador.



Monthly Risk Briefing: October

The monthly risk briefing provides information on global weather, volcanic, human and health events where members may consider using the Start Fund’s Crisis Anticipation Window. It reports on new, emerging or deteriorating situations; therefore, ongoing events that are considered to be unchanged are not featured and risks that are beyond the scope and scale of the Start Fund are also not featured. This monthly risk briefing is collated by the Start Network Anticipation team using information from academia and research institutes, government departments, ACAPS, global risk indexes, risk information provided by Start Members and their partners, and the media. Key risks are shared and collated each month with FOREWARN input.



Navigating uncertainty: An approach for Start Fund decision-makers

Start Fund decision-makers face varying levels of uncertainty when making allocation and project selection decisions, particularly when making decisions around anticipation alerts or in the early stages of a crisis. How we navigate uncertainty as a network and as individuals is critical given the Start Network’s collective responsibility in managing the Start Fund. This document introduces some ways to think about decision making under uncertainty. Read more about the Start Fund.


Further Information

Find out more about Start Fund

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