The Search for Funding - Strategies for Success
Number 18 - July 1999
Botanic gardens need to plan carefully if their fund-raising efforts are to be successful. The search for funding is not an easy task; it requires determination, persistence, imagination and good humour. Botanic gardens need to decide what they want to achieve in the short, medium and long term and develop a clear strategy for fund-raising (Wyse Jackson 1998). There are several key steps that those responsible for fund-raising should follow:
Self Generated Income
Botanic gardens can generate income from various sources:
Unrestricted Income (not regular revenue)
Unrestricted income can be obtained from sponsors and donors. This type of funding can be hard to source but it is extremely beneficial to have, several examples include:
Botanic gardens can play host to special events such as gala dinners, exhibitions, auctions and concerts.
There is the potential for support groups to make a significant contribution to the botanic garden budget through fund-raising and using their contacts. Consider if there is the potential for your botanic garden to have a sub committee with a special remit of raising money. Also consider getting people involved such as Trustees, Friends and Volunteers and building up a portfolio of donors; make sure you keep them informed.
Projects are an ideal way to get new activities funded. Grants can be obtained from individuals, foundations, government, commercial organisations etc. Consider the following:
Strategies for Revenue Generation
There are several strategies for revenue generation:
Planning is an important part of fund-raising. A strategic approach is very important and botanic gardens should develop an institutional strategic plan that is linked to a business plan. This plan needs to clearly outline:
Fund Raising Targets
Setting up a computer database can be a very effective way of managing fund-raising information. The data recorded might include names and addresses of actual and potential donors, information on applications made and the result and solicitations. The database can also be used for developing mailing lists, special appeals, membership management and sending invitations to events.
How to Find a Donor
Many donors are willing to support projects that have a clear beginning and end, rather than supporting the ongoing general operation of the botanic garden. National foundations give international support and can be located through:
These also support projects and many opportunities of support from governmental ministries such as:
International Aid Agencies
These provide support to developing countries:
Multi-lateral Aid Agencies
There are also a range of other international organisations that support conservation work:
Many corporations and commercial concerns have a policy to give funds to community projects. The first step is to compile a list of major commercial companies in your region and undertake research to see if they will donate to good causes. Following this, find the names of key people; a personal contact is the best way to build a relationship with a company.
Many donors provide forms for applicants to complete. Good project proposals:
Well prepared Project Officers:
Wyse Jackson, P.S. (1998) Funding in Leadlay, E. and Greene, J. (eds) The Darwin Technical Manual for Botanic Gardens. Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Richmond Surrey U.K. pp128-135.
Olin, P. (1995) Funding Botanic Gardens and Arboreta in the 21st Century. BGCNews Volume 2 (5) Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Richmond Surrey U.K. pp46-49.
The Darwin Technical Manual
Everything you could want to know about starting and running a botanic garden is contained in this unique resource. Written in collaboration with 87 people from 22 countries, it is available in French, Spanish and English. New BGCI Members are given the Manual along with lots of other key resources.
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Fundraising: Hands-On Tactics for Nonprofit Groups
This hands-on operations manual shows employees of non-profit organizations and volunteers how to design and run successful fundraising campaigns for their organizations. Sample letters, budgets, grant proposals, press releases, and action checklists guide readers toward fundraising success.
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