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Resource development and Wetlands International Some initial thoughts Bernard Mercer, Forests Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN) April 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Resource development and Wetlands International Some initial thoughts Bernard Mercer, Forests Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN) April 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Resource development and Wetlands International Some initial thoughts Bernard Mercer, Forests Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN) April 2011

2 About FPAN  The Forests Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN) was formed in early 2008, and became a UK registered charity in 2009. It has three goals: -Encourage more charitable trusts, foundations and private individuals to engage with the challenge of protecting and restoring forests -Foster informed debate and dialogue on these issues -Provide research-based guidance for donors and funders who are looking to support effective action on forests 2 FPAN team Nick Josefowitz, chairman FPAN co-founder, and founder of the Pure Climate Foundation and Rengen Bernard Mercer Co-founder, former CEO of New Philanthropy Capital and currently adviser to a range of charitable foundations, donors and private sector companies Jason Scott, trustee Founder and CEO, EKO Asset Management Partners Lila Preston, trustee Partner, Generation Asset Management Georg e Leventis, trustee Partner, Permian Asset Management and representative of the Leventis family Stephen Rumsey, trustee Co-founded European Credit Management, principal of Permian, formerly vice-chairman of BirdLife International

3 GGlobal forest and peatland strategies for ```````````the 21 st century  Eradicate logging in natural forests and peatlands? Eradication of infectious diseases and poverty are central to the 21 st century vision of development, why do we not have the same credo for natural forests and peatlands, given their critical function as climate and ecosystem custodians?  Sustainable use has little utility in the climate context. Up to 40 per cent loss of above ground carbon in selectively logged (SFM) forests does not make climate sense. Let’s declare war on all supposedly sustainable forms of logging!  Plantations are essential to meet global demand for wood-based products. But where should they be sited, and how can they be managed to avoid competition with natural forests and peatlands?  Global forest restoration potential is enormous. ITTO (2002) estimates 850 million hectares of degraded forest worldwide. 2-8 tonnes of carbon sequestered per hectare per year in even 20 per cent of this area is a lot of carbon dioxide sucked down from the atmosphere... More recently, WRI estimates there are 1.5 billion hectares of degraded forests globally – back of the envelope calculations indicate that if all of these hectares were restored to full health (including tropical lowland peatswamp forests), then we could be looking at removing 100ppm of GHG concentrations from the atmosphere 3

4 What is resource development? An awful lot of nonsense is talked about on resource development and fundraising! Many serious conservationists understandably think of these activities as boring, painful, de- motivating, and something that administrators should do.... Fundraising always makes me think of those horrible manipulative chuggers, who stop you in the street and shake their buckets and tins to make you give money... So a few basic truths: – Get rid of the idea that resource development is about fundraising. It isn’t. It’s about having a plan, and finding money to make that plan happen. It’s one of the aspects of the plan, alongside conservation strategy, hiring a team, etc – All organisations need money. It is a necessity, not an evil. Failing to make the effort to obtain money is just as reprehensible as failing to develop a proper conservation strategy – Money is a serious business, and obtaining it should absolutely not be left to administrators. If that’s what you are doing, you are wrong! – There is no real difference between obtaining money for business development in a company and obtaining money for an NGO. Anyone who tells you it is different is wrong! 4

5 Donors and funders – friends or foes? Donors and funders of NGOs are not much different from investors in a commercial company, or lenders, like banks. In exchange for giving you money, they want a return They also want you to succeed! Why else would they give you money? Donors and funders are not always right, anymore than investors and lenders. If their terms and conditions are not right for you, or they want you to do something with the money that you think is wrong, then spend time explaining your thinking If at all possible, meet with donors and funders face to face, or by phone – the culture of form-filling that characterises so much multilateral, bilateral and philanthropic funding is absolutely iniquitous If you can meet them then there is a chance of developing a dialogue – an interaction and sharing of ideas, problems, challenges, opportunities in which both sides learn something Donors and funders are not superior beings, just because they have money and you do not. Treat them as equals, not superiors. They cannot achieve their goals without you 5

6 All NGOs are badly under-funded It is rubbish to think that some NGOs have got too much money. All conservation and development NGOs are far too small, considering the scale of the challenges That is true for CI, TNC, WWF as well as Wetlands International. It’s also true for Oxfam, World Vision, Care International The Oxfam family has a combined annual income of c.$1 billion. Look at the world’s stock exchanges. How many publicly quoted companies have got less than $1 billion operating capital? Not many. So NGOs are GROSSLY under-funded, relative to companies Yet we expect NGOs to do the most difficult work of all, solving massive social and environmental problems So a big challenge for the 21 st century is to get civil society properly funded. It won’t happen overnight. But unless NGOs themselves think through “how big do we need to be” then donors and funders will carry on under-funding The implications of this logic are profound for resource development 6

7 Overcoming under-funding - 1 Start by thinking of the results you want to achieve, at the end of the time frame (1,2,3,5,10,50 years...) that you have decided upon Work backwards from the result. The result you want is your goal Your 50 year result might be restoration of 2 million hectares of wetland in the Mekong delta Your 1 year result might be to produce a report identifying wetland areas in the Mekong that are in need of restoration DON’T use woolly nonsense as your goal, like “alleviating poverty in Indonesia”, or “improving conservation practices in the Mekong”. Stuff like this doesn’t mean anything Remember that film, “Miss Congeniality”, with Sandra Bullock? Everybody wants congeniality, prosperity, a healthy planet. Achieving results has to mean something far more concrete 7

8 Overcoming under-funding -2 Create your own culture for funding proposals, don’t start by filling in a funders form Resource development is all about figuring out what you think and what you want: – The result desired – The intervention(s) needed – The time frame to achieve the result – The equipment and non-staff resources required – The people requirement (human resources) The answers to these questions will tell you how much money you need Developing your own format and approach will make it more likely that your proposal will match your aim Obviously it is important that the Wetlands International family is internally co-ordinated, otherwise you will waste time and money, and won’t be able to compare and analyse separate plans very easily This is the same as in a company. All organisations need to be internally calibrated 8

9 Overcoming under-funding - 3 Be opportunistic, and be adventurous! Some of your best chances for getting funding will come about through casual conversations in cafes, elevators, restaurants... Anyone with money (foundation, private individual, company, government) is potentially a donor/funder The line between development and environment is becoming more fuzzy One person’s humanitarian aid is another person’s mangrove restoration So don’t be too literal and don’t think in terms of boxes Never be afraid to ask for money. Being refused money is not so bad 9

10 Donor/funder psychology The orthodox approach is to categorise donors by the sector in which they operate, e.g. Multilaterals, bilaterals, foundations, corporates, private individuals, supporters This is always worth doing, so you know where donors and funders are coming from But understanding donor appetite for risk is another filter, often really valuable to understand in advance of discussions. A taxonomy of attitudes to risk might look like this: – Low risk, low return (e.g, funding an existing project that has a good track record in achieving valuable but rather marginal gains) – High risk, high return (e.g. Funding something that currently does not exist, like a peatland map of the Pantanal) – Low involvement/high involvement. Some donors like to become very actively involved. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on calibre of the donor. Others are the reverse – they just want to give the money and then get a report Trying to find out the configuration of a donor can be valuable in assessing which projects to present to them through funding proposals. It is similar to the world of for-profit investing (e.g. Early stage private equity, long-term institutional investors) 10

11 Things to avoid, things to do Tell funders what you want to tell them, not just what they ask for Face to face/phone meetings, avoid form filling if at all possible Invest time in building relationships. It might take several meetings to secure funding Look under the surface, don’t get too absorbed in processes. For example, EU funding is notoriously bureaucratic. So cultivate EU officials who can help Be ambitious and true to your vision and goals Build a donor prospects spreadsheet. This is absolutely vital 11 Don’t treat resource development as a chore to be delegated to junior administrative staff Take ownership of your own budgets – just as important as your conservation responsibilities Don’t treat donors and funders as chequebooks. They are people, often brainy people! Their value to you may lie as much in their insights as in their money Don’t compromise your conservation goals because of some stupid donor requirement. Fight, fight and fight for what you know is right! Weave resource development into your daily working life, don’t treat it as something different from ‘normal’ work


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