OTF announces Rapid Response Fund

The Open Technology Fund (OTF) has announced the Rapid Response Fund that aims to facilitate the digital emergency response community to resolve threats in a timely and comprehensive manner for individuals, communities, and organizations whose free expression has recently been repressed.

To resolve digital emergencies, OTF offers both direct financial support as well as technical services from trusted partners to high-risk people and organizations, such as bloggers, cyber activists, journalists, and human rights defenders.

The Rapid Response Fund offers two types of support to organizations, activists, journalists, and other human rights defenders facing digital attacks and emergencies of various kinds: 1) technological services from trusted service partners and 2) direct financial support for the many needs that cannot be fulfilled by available service partners.

The Rapid Response Fund does not provide support for projects that are more long-term in nature or that aim to build digital security capacity among groups or organizations.

Supported Services

  • Digital security audits for organizations
  • Urgent risk mitigation for organizations
  • Rapid assessment and crisis response planning for organizations
  • DDoS response and mitigation
  • Secure web hosting
  • Secure hosting, monitoring, and resiliency of websites during special events (elections, campaigns etc.)
  • VPN connections
  • Safe Internet connections
  • Forensic analysis of digital attacks
  • Recovery of compromised websites
  • Audit of presumably compromised websites
  • Malware analysis

Funding Information

  • The total value of support cannot exceed 50,000 USD. Average support amounts are between 5,000 and 25,000 USD.
  • OTF provide anywhere from $1 to $50,000 for a period of six months or less for individuals or groups carrying out efforts such as:
    • Establishing new Internet connections (such as VPNs) when existing connections have been cut off or are being restricted;
    • Providing personal digital protection for online journalists, human rights defenders, NGOs, activists and bloggers;
    • Rapid development of tools or translations needed to respond adequately to emergencies;
    • Developing decentralized, mobile Internet applications that can link computers as an independent network (mesh or delay-tolerant networks);
    • Any appropriate response to digital emergencies not listed above

Monitoring and Evaluation

Recognizing that digital emergencies and response to those emergencies are unique to each situation, they individually tailor monitoring and evaluation of these efforts. M&E can include a periodic report on the successes/shortfalls of the support, a report back upon completion of support, or some other appropriate method of communication.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Individuals of all ages irrespective of nationality, creed or sex;
  • Individuals who demonstrate skill and ability to conduct rapid response work;
  • Individuals who have intimate knowledge of the communities they are working with, and the digital threats they experience.
  • They are not able to support applicants within countries that the United States has trade restrictions or export sanctions as determined by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC);
  • All payments will be made in U.S. dollars (USD) and will comply with local laws, regulations and ethics rules. Each applicant is responsible for the tax consequences of any support they receive, as determined by the laws of their country.
  • It is each individual and organization’s sole responsibility to comply with any policies any pre-existing employer, etc. may have that would affect your eligibility to receive support from OTF.


  • Quality of project idea: When applying for direct funding, applications should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the mission of promoting freedoms of expression, assembly, and association online.
  • Ability to achieve objectives: A relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity of the organization. The work plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above. Objectives should be ambitious, yet specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For complete scopes of work, applicants will have to provide a monthly timeline of project activities.
  • Multiplier effect/sustainability: Proposed programs should address how the expected results will contribute to improving Internet freedom goals.
  • Applicant’s record and capacity OTF will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.

For more information, visit Rapid Response Fund.