Last week, the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) hosted the first of a three-part public webinar series taking place throughout June 2021. In the webinar, experienced conservationist, fundraiser and CLP trainer, Maaike Manten, shared her ten top tips for designing good conservation projects. For those who missed it (or just fancy a recap), Maaike’s tips and the webinar recording are available below.
Trained as a political scientist in Amsterdam, Maaike Manten started working for BirdLife International (one of the three CLP partnership organisations) in 2000 – first in the UK and Kenya as the Institutional Fundraiser for Africa, then in Fiji as the Fundraiser for the Pacific. She now works in Rwanda as the Regional Implementation Team leader for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)’s investment programme, previously in the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot (2012-2020) and currently in the Mediterranean Basin hotspot. Maaike has been working with CLP since 2009, providing project design, proposal writing and fundraising trainings to young conservationists in Far East Asia, Latin America, East Africa and Central Asia.
Around 350 people registered to attend Maaike’s CLP webinar on June 11, 2021. This was by far the highest number of registrants we’ve had so far for such an event, reflecting the importance and relevance of the topic being discussed. As Maaike commented at the start, “A lot of you are probably waiting for ‘silver bullets’…those top tips that will turn your project designs into fundable proposals.”
Maaike recommends applying all ten of her ‘silver bullet’ tips to your project design, to not only help you with your fundraising efforts but also achieve better conservation impacts.
Maaike Manten’s Ten Top Tips for Good Project Design:
- Read the guidelines – and stick to them (make it more difficult for a donor to reject you)
- If you have no problem, you don’t need a project (think about ‘why’ before ‘what’)
- If you have a problem, fix it (make sure your ‘how’ and ‘what’ relate to your ‘why’)
- Start with sustainability (it is not an ‘afterthought’)
- Use evidence, and build on science (don’t do the wrong thing, there is no time to waste)
- Monitor, Evaluate, and Learn (include MEL in your design!)
- Build on what you’ve got (and do a SWOT)
- Don’t go it alone (working together is cool)
- Write as clear as a window pane (Keep It Seriously Simple)
- Use the right words (speak your donor’s language)
For more guidance around each of these ten tips, you can watch the recording of Maaike’s webinar below:
Maaike also recommends using these three top tools:
- “Institutional Fundraising for Conservation Projects” manual, co-authored by Maaike and available to download for free on the CLP website (in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Portuguese). This manual offers a step-by-step guide to improve your success rate at institutional fundraising by showing you how to plan high-quality projects, how to translate them into excellent funding proposals, how to develop constructive enduring donor relationships, and how to draft short- and long-term fundraising plans and strategies. The manual provides a mixture of theoretical tools, practical examples and insightful tips based on years of fundraising experience.
- Science and evidence resource
- Monitoring and Evaluation toolkit
And finally – good luck!