Climate shocks contribute to a significant share of the humanitarian burden, and are a key factor in increasing poverty and food insecurity. Social protection is increasingly recognised as an instrument to help build resilience to climate risks through long-term, large-scale national systems. However, most experiences to date have focused on social protection’s role for chronic needs, or at best, shock-response, rather than on anticipation and prevention. This article argues that social protection can support more effective resilience building at scale by integrating early action and preparedness. We propose a concrete solution, namely linking a Forecast-based Financing mechanism to a social protection system to enable anticipatory actions based on forecast triggers and guaranteed funding ahead of a shock. Such a system may enhance scalability, timeliness, predictability and adequacy of social protection benefits. Key considerations for success of this emerging approach include sound analysis of forecast, risks, cost and benefits, and ring-fenced funding.