Guest blog – Carol Monoyios, WWF International

By Carol Monoyios, Global Fundraising Director, WWF International

“Our focus has shifted to securing the heritage of the foundation’s work over the past 25 years, achieving key conservation successes by 2022, and ensuring a lasting legacy via a strong and active conservation community.” Words of MAVA’s Director General, Lynda Mansson

Lynda’s comments resonated with me, as I’m sure they did with many of the partners the MAVA Foundation has supported over the past decades.

Landscapes, seascapes and organisations have thrived thanks to the Foundation’s support. But as partners who have benefited from MAVA’s support, we also have a duty to ensure we help strengthen and build this active conservation community.

For WWF, that means supporting offices around the world to ensure they benefit from the lasting legacy built from MAVA’s grants. In some cases, this means working with these offices to build strong fundraising programmes of their own, taking advantage of opportunities from private and public partners, donors and philanthropists.

For others in countries and regions where philanthropy is less developed, the focus is around working with offices to build a sustainable funding plan from more diverse sources, partnering with other institutions, and developing local relevance and credibility by building constituencies.

In my role as global fundraising director, my team and I provide technical expertise, capacity building and hands-on advice to help offices take advantage of opportunities, maximise their potential, diversify their income portfolio, or partner with others. The objective is not always about achieving top-line growth. It is often about ensuring offices have a sustainable funding base to achieve their conservation and organisational objectives.

Here are some of the learnings we share with WWF offices and other organisations about growth and sustainability:

  • Top-line growth without sustainability can actually increase risk for a small office. A more appropriate strategy might be coalition fundraising so that resources, funding and risk are shared.
  • Income diversification is not only about reducing donor dependency. It also helps reduce risk, grow the donor portfolio, and sparks innovation, engagement and communication opportunities.
  • Empowered offices and organisations are those with strong local bonds, partners and funding. So at WWF we are introducing a new performance indicator for offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America around proportion of income raised in-country and in-region.
  • There are very few proven fundraising channels that deliver sustainable unrestricted income. Mass market fundraising is the best engine for unrestricted growth, but is expensive, and not relevant or possible in many markets. And unfortunately, as we are all well aware, large unrestricted grants and gifts are rare. However, many offices and organisations are not implementing or achieving full cost recovery, or making the case for direct and indirect cost recovery to funders. This has to be the first step.
  • It’s possible to make an investment case for unrestricted funds to a major donor or foundation. But unless there is a sustainability and income diversification plan attached to it, it is a potential missed opportunity. Therefore we have worked with offices, where there is potential for fundraising growth in their market, to apply for fundraising investment grants, rather than funds for programmes. In the long run, this might deliver more funds for programmatic work, and create a more sustainable base.

We would love to hear your experiences and feedback on creating sustainable funding plans for your organisation. Do contact me if you would like to share your experiences with others : cmonoyios@wwfint.org

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