Digital Action Lab


The CIVICUS Crisis Response Fund (CRF) and the Digital Democracy Initiative (DDI) are offering rapid-response resiliency grants, especially for local civil society actors facing imminent civic space restrictions, struggles, threats and barriers that prevent them from continuing their work towards more inclusive democracy in the digital age.

These digital resiliency grants provide up to USD 10,000 (ten thousand United States dollars) for one organisation submitting a funding application alone, and up to USD 20,000 (twenty thousand United States dollars) for joint applications between two or more organisations. We expect to provide between 30-40 grants in 2024.  The grants must be used in under six months. Applications are received at any time throughout the year and reviewed on a rolling basis!

What can be funded?

The goal of the grants provided by the CIVICUS Crisis Response Fund and the Digital Democracy Initiative is to help civil society become more resilient against civic space challenges faced when promoting more inclusive democracy in the digital age. Therefore, the grants support resiliency responses or activities that proactively avoid and mitigate imminent civic space restrictions, struggles, threats and barriers and/or “help civil society continue to do work” towards more inclusive democracy. These responses could focus on helping mitigate digital threats, threats to digital civic rights, threats to civic engagement and inclusive democracy in the digital space, and broader civic space threats (including offline threats) that could be countered or mitigated by using digital technology and building digital resilience. 

Prospective resiliency responses or activities under the grants could include (but are not limited to):

Responses to help civil society actors at risk for their in-person activities start mobilising safely in online spaces to be able to continue their work. This could include training but also creating online spaces and other infrastructure work in the digital space.


Who can receive CRF-DDI digital resiliency grants?

To be eligible for a CRF-DDI digital resiliency grant, interested applicants must meet all the following eligibility criteria:

Applicants must be a local civil society organisation, group or social movement (either formal or informal) working to expand civic and democratic freedoms and promote inclusive democracy in the digital age. The grants are not awarded to individuals.

  • Priority is given to unrepresented or marginalised actors, including women, youth, informal civil society, grassroots groups and LGTBIQ+ groups, among others.

  • Our definition of local civil society: diverse civil society actors (individuals, organisations, human rights defenders, grassroots groups, among others) established and operating in their own country, led by and primarily accountable to the local constituents they serve or represent.

Applicants must be based in a global south country receiving Official Development Assistance from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (click here to check the list of countries).

  • Priority is given to countries where civic freedoms are restricted, particularly those with “Obstructed” and “Repressed” civic space ratings, according to the CIVICUS Monitor. Review the CIVICUS Monitor ratings:

Applicants must be facing a verifiable imminent civic space threat or emergency or a need for enhanced digital resiliency to ensure effective civil society action towards inclusive democracy. Evidence of the risk from the last three to six months is required.

  • Our definition of imminent threat or need: real danger that is likely to occur or about to happen almost immediately or in a very short period of time. An imminent need is something necessary to do or get almost immediately or in a very short period. Please note that applicants do not have to be in a severely critical situation to be eligible.

Proposals must be for resiliency responses or activities that help avoid, counter, mitigate and/or navigate civic space threats to civil society actors or civil society at large by using digital technology or to enhance their digital resilience. Responses/proposals for advocacy activities, core funding and other purposes are not accepted.

  • Our definition of resiliency responses or activities: those that are designed to help civil society actors cope with imminent challenges and crises and continue doing their work.

Applicants must have an organisational bank account with the ability to receive funds from a CIVICUS bank account based in the United States of America. If an appropriate organisational bank account does not exist, the applicant can submit a written request to use a fiscal sponsor or receive funds into an alternative account. CIVICUS also has to run sanctions checks on the applicant’s bank and the country where it is based.

Applicants must be able to plan and track the use of CRF-DDI grant funding. This includes providing receipt-based financial reports to CIVICUS every month. Click here to read the grant reporting requirements.

Application process

You can submit a funding application at any time throughout the year, following this process:


Read the eligibility criteria carefully.You can submit an application only if you meet all the eligibility criteria.



Download the templates that will help you prepare your submission: 1) Download the application form in a Word file to draft your answers. 2) Download the budget template in Excel to prepare your budget proposal.


Prepare your submission. The downloadable application form will allow you to prepare the answers to our questions offline and then copy-paste them into the online form. We recommend doing this because once you start filling out the online form, you cannot stop and save it to continue working on it later; and, if you are working on it and your Internet or computer fails, you could lose what you wrote. You must elaborate your budget proposal using the Excel template and upload that file when submitting your application online.



Submit your application via our online application form. If you prepared your application form offline, copy-paste the answers in the designated fields making sure nothing is left empty, upload your budget proposal and then click submit.


The online application portal is the preferred channel to submit applications. However, if you experience challenges accessing or using this portal, please send your completed application form and budget proposal to this email address:


Response and turnaround time

Our team will review applications on a rolling basis and do their best to contact applicants within 10 working days to acknowledge receipt of their application and, if possible, provide initial feedback. If the application abides by the protocols listed and the partner verification process is not hindered, partners can expect a 4–6-week turnaround in processing their application, contracting and initial disbursement of funds.


Do you have any questions?

Find the answers to specific questions about the application process, grant implementation requirements, reporting requirements and how the grant funding is disbursed.

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