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The Coronavirus Appeal Evaluation

Measuring the impact of the first National Emergencies Trust activation

NET 1 Year Thanks

We are pleased to announce that NTU will be working together with the National Emergencies Trust to evaluate their first activation, the Coronavirus Appeal, which has raised almost £100 million pounds.

The National Emergencies Trust launched in November 2019 to help ensure UK charitable giving can be shared equitably and at pace to those in need during significant emergencies in the UK. Created due to a number of recent nationally significant emergencies, the Trust was built to create a single point of charitable giving that ensures the equitable distribution of support from individuals and organisations. Its modelling suggested that there would be an emergency that met the activation criteria every 2.4 years. Little did anybody know that it would be just 4 months before the Trustee Board would agree to greenlight the first activation.

The National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal was activated on 18 March 2020, to support individuals and communities in need during Covid-19. The plan was to ensure the UK had a central, trusted, and resourced distribution mechanism so that individuals and organisations could give with confidence when disasters struck. As a new organisation with three full-time staff, the Trust began working with UKCF and its network of Community Foundations across the UK, as well as selected national partners with the aim of swiftly supporting unmet need across the country. The pandemic has unquestionably hit individuals and communities across the UK and reached the threshold for the Trust to activate.


With that activation came the desire to learn and adapt to this unprecedented challenge. Through support from the Economic and Social Research Council, a team of NTU colleagues sprang into action to support this learning for the National Emergencies Trust and the wider sector. The Trust has partnered with the team at Nottingham Trent University to evaluate the impact of this first activation and to evaluate the underlying policies and processes. NTU acted as a critical friend during the development of the Trust prior to their launch in 2019.  This two-phase evaluation began in February 2021. Findings from the evaluation will inform the Trust’s policies and practices in future emergencies of national significance and develop new knowledge that will be disseminated across policymakers, the third sector, disaster and emergency planners, and academics nationally and internationally.

The project will help develop an understanding of this unique organisation and activation so that others can learn from it. The multi-disciplinary team – which consists of Dr Sally Andrews, Rich Pickford, Dr Lesley Alborough (research fellow), Supreet Uppal (research assistant), Dr Duncan Guest and Dr Rowena Hill – has combined expertise in philanthropic giving, disasters and emergency, and mental health in historically marginalised groups and brings a mixed-methods approach to this project. This unique and exciting project is supported by an advisory board of subject matter experts across the third sector and academia, which is chaired by Professor Nigel Wright. The project is due to run for one year and will share an evaluation report and other outputs to present learning for the National Emergencies Trust and other partners.

For further information about the project visit the project page where we will keep you updated on findings and ideas generated by the project or email us at

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