When we launch an appeal


  • The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance
  • The DEC member agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national appeal
  • There must be reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal would be successful, either because of evidence of existing public sympathy for the humanitarian situation or because there is a compelling case indicating the likelihood of significant public support should an appeal be launched


One-off catastrophes

Such as earthquakes, which have an immediate impact on local communities. As the 2015 Nepal Earthquake Appeal showed, the general public can be extremely generous in donating to help people survive a major catastrophe. After the initial humanitarian assistance phase, members may need longer-term funding to help people rebuild their homes and villages.
Slow-onset humanitarian crises

Such as the 2017 East Africa crisis, which develop over time. For example, severe food shortages caused by complex environmental and economic factors may develop gradually over months or even years. The situation may be affected by political factors.
Complex political emergencies

Such as the crisis in Yemen, which can devastate the lives of civilians caught up in them. This kind of humanitarian crisis may not attract much media and public attention until the situation reaches a critical point. 


In applying these criteria, one of the key questions the DEC must consider is whether its members are the best placed to meet the needs of those in crisis, or whether the governments and aid organisations in affected countries already have the resources, people, expertise and organisational infrastructure to cope.

If the criteria are met, the DEC will launch an appeal by:

  • Uniting DEC agencies in a national fundraising effort
  • Working with the media to create an appeal mechanism for national fundraising and public response
  • Ensuring funds raised go to the DEC agencies best placed to deliver aid to those in most need in an effective, timely and fully accountable way


The DEC alerts the Rapid Response Network (RRN), a unique alliance of the UK's corporate and broadcasting sectors, to launch a highly cost-effective fundraising appeal.

Each broadcaster decides independently whether or not they will carry an appeal.
At the same time, we consult with members to establish the level of humanitarian need.

The DEC makes sure people know how to donate and can do so via their preferred secure method, including by telephone, online, post, sms or in person at a collection point.
Each appeal fund is usually promoted for two weeks and remains open for six months.

The DEC and its member agencies have been incredibly effective in both raising funds and providing humanitarian aid quickly and effectively.

Thanks to the generosity of the UK public, in recent years we have raised:

  • £43 million for the 2019 Cyclone Idai Appeal
  • £29 million for the 2018 Indonesia Tsunami Appeal
  • £30 million for the 2017 Emergency Appeal for People Fleeing Myanmar
  • £66 million for the 2017 East Africa Crisis Appeal
  • £30 million for the 2016 Yemen Crisis Appeal
  • £87 million for the 2015 Nepal Earthquake Appeal

Before that, we raised £37 million in response to the devastating outbreak of Ebola in 2014 and £97 million for the people of the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.