Despite the wide array of Environmental Trust Funds (ETFs) created and utilized globally, limited information is available on the characteristics that make such funds successful, particularly as they relate to the experiences of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This study evaluates the Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF) of the Maldives as a case in point. Experiences from the energy component of the CCTF indicate that while technology transfer is needed, the project approach did not help to overcome the lack of human resource capacity to manage the transition to renewable energy in Thinadhoo. A comparison of the CCTF with Bhutan’s experience suggests that instead of implementing projects directly by the ETF, as done by CCTF, it would be more suitable for an organization to facilitate the implementation. In addition to having a fund, stakeholder participation, institutional development, and focusing on broader goals with co-benefits from projects would increase the prospect of success for ETFs.