6. Accessing institutional donor funding


To access funding from CARE’s primary donors:

  • Establish good coordination between the CO and the relevant CARE International Member. The CARE Member should provide advice about how to access the funds, help with the proposal development and submission process, and will manage donor relations at the headquarters level.
  • Establish good relationships with the donor representatives on the ground. They will often be responsible for funding decisions. Ensure you share CARE’s strategy and other relevant information (assessment data, concepts) with donors on the ground, so that they are aware of CARE’s capacity and ability to respond. Meetings to present CARE’s programme may be required.
  • Find out about available funding cycles of key donors, including proposal requirements, funding amounts, submission deadlines, and likely phasing of funding rounds for response and rehabilitation.
  • Prepare and submit high-quality proposals. For guidelines, refer to Chapter 7 Proposal writing.
  • A CO must never apply for funding from a primary donor of a CARE Member without coordinating with the Member.
  • For ECHO funding: Be quick, because ECHO will often allocate initial funding within 48 hours. Country Offices will need to partner with a European member to access ECHO funding. If there is doubt about who is the appropriate partner for ECHO contracts is, seek advice from the CI Secretariat/ Brussels office.
  • Country Offices should also note that, increasingly, many bilateral donors will only consider funding those NGOs who are seen to be coordinating their emergency response activities with the UN-led cluster system.

It is important not to forget other donors who may be active in the country, although there may not be a direct headquarter relationship with a CARE Member. For example, CARE COs can sometimes access emergency funds from Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states.

Country Offices should directly approach and manage these relationships in the country and request Lead Member help if contracting or any other support is required.

UN agencies can be a key source of funds during emergencies, particularly CARE’s traditional UN partners of WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF, with whom CARE often works as an implementing partner. For specific guidelines on working with WFP and UNHCR, refer to Annex 7.8 Partnering with WFP, and Annex 7.9 Partnering with UNHCR.

Implementation and funding arrangements with UN agencies are managed directly by the CO together with the UN agency representatives on the ground. Management support for contracts is the responsibility of the Lead Member. According to the CI Code, Lead Member Internal Cost Recovery (ICR) also applies to multilateral contracts.

There are three key UN funding mechanisms that apply in emergencies, although experience shows they are currently not necessarily easy for NGOs to access, and can be very slow:

  • Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is available to UN agencies to support humanitarian response. NGOs cannot access funding directly but can be engaged as implementing partners of the UN agencies receiving CERF funding.
  • Emergency Response Funds (ERF) are funds made available to NGOs through OCHA to address critical gaps in humanitarian assistance. Management of ERFs varies from country to country.
  • Pooled/Common Humanitarian Funds (CHF) are funds given by donors, which are not earmarked for any specific purpose and can be used flexibly. Responsibility for allocating funds is given to the in-country UN Humanitarian Coordinator. NGOs are eligible to receive CHF funds, although this is at the discretion of the Humanitarian Coordinator.

In addition to these funding mechanisms, the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) is a joint planning mechanism that can be an important way to seek donor funding. CAP is a mechanism to present a broad collection of funding proposals to the donor community. The CAP is managed by OCHA and, while most proposals included are for UN agencies, NGOs are often also included. Actual funding decisions are managed directly between the donor and the implementing agency.

Country Offices should coordinate closely with UN agencies on the ground to access these funds and seek advice from CEG as required. In particular, it’s critical for CO’s to be actively engaged in clusters. See Humanitarian Coordination.

Some donors provide funding specifically to support the deployment of emergency personnel. The most significant at the moment is the PSO programme, which can be accessed through CARE Netherlands. To find out if PSO can cover emergency personnel, contact emergencyHR@careinternational.org.