Fundraising Strategy: Steps

A high-level approach for developing a fundraising strategy is outlined below.

One potential pathway for developing a fundraising strategy is outlined below:

  1. Review funding needs based on financial strategy and Water Fund Strategic Plan

    This includes specification of the types of ecosystem services that the Water Fund is seeking to protect or restore and the targets for implementation (e.g. number of hectares that will be restored or protected and the estimated costs of meeting those targets).

  2. Distinguish how funding will be distributed.

    Funding requirements for different needs should be specified, such as for the endowment fund, matching funds, and implementation funds.

  3. Review private and public funding opportunities.

    This requires consideration of funding sources in terms of their quantity, temporal restrictions, and any associated risks (i.e. reputation, guarantee of funding, etc.). Private funders will include corporate donors, while public funders may include international institutions, governments (e.g. federal, regional, local), and non-government organizations. Public funding may be secured through different mechanisms, such as grants, bonds, a sales tax, or balloting and a corresponding water-user fee. This analysis should include consideration of any local, regional, or federal regulations that might help to drive a conservation agenda (e.g. Endangered Species Act may help to secure grants if species are known to reside within the source watershed area of interest). Similarly, this strategy should consider any conservation goals of large international institutions that apply to the work that would be implemented by a Water Fund, as they may help to further build the case for prospective funders.

  4. Review funder motivations

    Reviewing the motivations of funders is important for identifying risks that may affect a Water Fund. For instance, a funder’s motivations may be related to water security risks, meeting regulatory standards, or improving their reputation.

  5. Analyze the consequences of pursuing the identified funders

    This analysis should include consideration of the pros and cons of partnering with specific funders and the benefits of pursuing just one or many funders (e.g. a SWOT-type of analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

  6. Establish clear funding targets based on potential funding opportunities

    It is important that the fundraising strategy can demonstrate how conservation outcomes can be achieved in the short-term to justify and accelerate funding agreements for the long-term operation of a Water Fund. A tracking tool should also be developed and maintained that specifies prospective funding sources, fundraising goals, the probability of securing those funds, the estimated dates of receiving funds, the general strategy, and responsible staff for leading the engagement.

  7. Incorporate fundraising strategy into Strategic Plan and develop engagement strategy.

    Ensure that results and key work plan related steps are incorporated into the Water Fund Strategic Plan.

  8. Engage prospective funders and cultivate relationship.

    Execute the strategy.

  9. Assign responsibility for follow-up to relevant person and continuously provide updates to partners regarding progress in related activities

    The responsible person may be a member of the Water Fund’s technical secretary, a member of the board of directors, or other key staff member.