You are here: / Biodiversity / Funding

Integrated biodiversity management usually requires (additional) resources in terms of money.

Grant programmes

The seemingly easiest way to raise funds is applying for grant programmes from international donors such as the European Commission or the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) of the World Bank. Most Environmental Ministries at national and sub national level also run such grant programmes. Additionally there are foundations set up by political parties, industry and individuals that might offer appropriate grants. This type of grant programme may include funding for information and/or marketing campaigns, guides for local schoolteachers, study visits to neighbouring countries, scientific surveys and the development of site management plans.


Investments in infrastructure, for example upgrading of the local wastewater plant, usually requires a loan. Development banks including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Nordic Environmental Finance Cooperation (NEFCO) can provide soft loans if there is a convincing business plan demonstrating how the investment will be recovered. For example by increased revenues from tourism or higher water charges.

Private sponsors

New trails and information centres can in some cases be covered by grants. Local businesses and private investors can also source funding if they are convinced the publicity and marketing strategies for their sponsors are being handled properly. These include timely press releases and so on. However, raising funds among private sponsors needs experience and knowledge and it is often beneficial to hire a public relations company or designate a resource that can concentrate solely on these activities.


Working with volunteers for building and maintaining trails and the information centre can help save money and resources. This can be achieved by directly recruiting volunteers or by working in cooperation with non-profit organisations such as a local nature conservation organisations or with environmental trainers. Some companies might not be able to contribute funds to a project such as this but may offer their staff to help out on a 'good cause' perhaps one day a year.

Fund raising in 6 steps

  1. Prepare a concept paper (or project brief) of a few pages containing the following;
  • Background information (what has been done before, main problems, why is it important to act now)
  • Main objectives (what do you want to achieve)
  • Activities planned
  • Estimated time frame (overall and by activity)
  • Estimated budget per major activity or output
  1. Identify funding sources

  2. Grants
    International public grant programmes, national or sub national programmes; foundations (e.g. of political parties, corporations)
    Soft loans
    Development banks; governmental loan programmes
    Sponsorships and donations
    Cooperate with private enterprises that want to increase their visibility or green image
    In- kind financing
    Mobilise volunteers directly or via cooperation with non-profit organisations
  3. 2. Break projects into subprojects that match the criteria of funding sources

  4. Take the concept paper and match the objectives and activities with the objectives and focus of the funding programmes you have identified. This essentially means that means you are breaking the main project into sub-projects that are then easier to adapt to the funding programmes.
  5. Search for partners, if necessary

  6. For each sub-project define the best way to cooperate with the partners. Then identify which partners you would like to cooperate with and approach them. Your initial concept paper will be the fundamental document for this step.
  7. Prepare proposal drafts with or without partners and submit them for first review to the identified funding institutions.
    For each sub-project prepare a concept paper in the same format as the main project concept paper (project brief). If you are working in a partnership this step must be done in close cooperation with that partner. Some funding programmes invite you to submit a provisional project brief or pre-proposal in order to receive feedback on your application its objectives, methodology and partner(s). Other funding programmes do not give you this opportunity.
  8. Submit project proposal or develop cooperation agreement with private sponsors The full project proposal might have to be submitted in the specific form and structure provided by the sponsor organisation. Private sponsors usually do not request a special format and focus on personal meetings with representatives of your organisation. This will require a list of benefits the sponsor will have when supporting your project (publicity at press conferences, logos of the sponsor placed on websites, printed information materials etc).


Provide examples for grant programmes, institutions providing soft loans, companies that might be interested in supporting biodiversity management projects, and in-kind funding sources


What is the possible benefit of cooperating with project partners?

Some points to keep in mind

  • Always think about the sustainability of your project - will it survive once initial funding has ceased? Sponsors are always interested in how you intend to secure this sustainability.
  • Secure follow up funding while the first project phase is running or include income generating mechanisms in your project that will fund follow up work.
  • Be open to partnerships and ask your partners to treat project drafts confidentially.
  • Always mobilise your own resources first. The more you are ready to contribute to a project the easier it is to receive complementary funding from other sources.
  • Develop a clear vision for yourself of WHAT you want to achieve and HOW you intend to do it. Focused thoughts will be more convincing to the sponsor.
  • Make sure you allocate enough resources to project. management. It might seem like a waste of money initially but without it, project funds will not be spent efficiently