Sustaining NGO capacity to conserve nature during the global economic downturn

Collaboration © M Fowlie

Following the global economic downturn in 2008/9, funding streams to many BirdLife Partners were significantly reduced. Some found themselves struggling, and were forced to scale back their conservation work. In response to this, Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation made funds available for a series of small grants. This project has helped develop the organisational stability of several BirdLife partners.

AVJCF support of the BirdLife partner in the Cook Islands has enabled core staff to return to frontline duties, such as surveying the globally threatened Rarotonga Starling Aplonis cinerascens. By the end of the project, the Te Ipukurea Society had stronger financial management and membership strategy, both of which helped it become self-sustaining.

Aves Uruguay used AVJCF support to strengthen its conservation department, and improve communications and fundraising. As a direct result, the area covered by AU's conservation projects almost doubled in 2011.

AVJCF funds helped BirdLife's Vietnam Country Programme during its transformation into a national Vietnamese NGO. A Programme Development Advisor was recruited to update the fundraising plan, develop membership, and build relations with the private sector.

Before the AVJCF grant, the Azerbaijan Ornithological Society (AOS) lacked a youth network, and was not represented in the western region, which includes the second largest city, Ganja. The Ganja branch has now been established, and there are Youth Nature Watching Clubs in both Ganja and the capital, Baku, which have increased conservation activity and raised AOS's profile.

Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE) used the AVJCF grant to hire an Executive Coordinator and a Communication and Education Officer. With their help, NCE held its first Management Board election, and submitted the papers to establish foreign currency bank accounts. A striking example of NCE's growing influence has been the campaign to include conservation of protected areas and biodiversity in the new Constitution of Egypt.

Funding from AVJCF enabled the Ghana Wildlife Society to reverse a declining membership, reinvigorate its governance structure, and improve conservation delivery. Coordination between the Secretariat and branches of the Wildlife and Environment Society in Malawi has been improved, and a new business plan is helping the NGO become self-financing.

In 2008 and 2009, lack of funds forced the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) to reduce its staff and operations. With AVJCF support, a plan has been developed to diversify PCS's donor portfolio, PCS's membership database system has been improved, and the website can accept donations via PayPal.

AVJCF funds have helped stabilise the budget of the Palestine Wildlife Society (PWLS), ensuring it can continue to lead the development of environmental conservation in Palestine. PWLS has a new membership strategy, and a revamped website will improve marketing outreach, which will in turn improve funding sustainability.

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Pridham, C. and Langley, N. (2013) Living landscapes for nature and people. Celebrating the conservation work of the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation and the BirdLife Partnership. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International Pg. 64-65. 

Compiled: 2015    Copyright: 2015   

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2015) Sustaining NGO capacity to conserve nature during the global economic downturn. Downloaded from on 29/02/2024