Conservation fundraising success stories

Did you know that 88% of conservationists rely on fundraising?

In a sector dominated by charities, the majority of conservation projects are funded by donors. These can include large grants secured from governments and foundations to smaller donations via public campaigns, appeals, events and membership drives.

Whether it’s conserving frogs in Ghana, or reintroducing Bears in Italy, fundraising is what turns ideas into reality.

Here are just a few examples of conservation success stories from around the globe, made possible by fundraising (and some fundraising tips too!)

African Foam Nest Treefrog (Chiromantis rufescens). Credit: SAVE THE FROGS!

Nubian Ibex reintroduction | Shouf Mountains, Lebanon

“​​After more than a century of absence and decades of speculations, the Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana) is making a comeback in Lebanon through a reintroduction project promoted by the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR), with the technical support of Istituto Oikos (Italian NGO). 

“The initiative is coherent with the country’s commitments and goals under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and it represents an important step toward the restoration of the Shouf Mountains’ biodiversity and the reconstruction of Lebanon’s natural zoocenosis. 

“I am proud to say that all of this has been made possible by a successful complementary fundraising strategy that began with private foundations (such as the MAVA Foundation, the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, and the Prince Bernhard nature fund) and built up to the landing of major public sector funds (EU Commission).

“But more fundraising is needed to continue to sustain this long-term initiative in the long term!” – Filippo Zibordi, mountainous ecosystem and large carnivore expert, specialized in protected area management and awareness raising, supporting NGOs and public administrations. Co-founder at Environmental Grants.

Filippo Zibordi, Co-Founder at Environmental Grants.

Brown Bear reintroduction | Italian Alps

“I have worked for 13 years in the framework of the brown bear reintroduction project in the Italian Alps, which was made possible thanks to the LIFE Program of the European Union.

“After decades of planning and rethinking, the European Union funding instrument for the environment gave financial resources to avoid the disappearance of the last bears of the Alps and was the bond that held together the efforts of many entities and organizations.

“The result is that today there are more than 100 brown bears in the Central Alps!” – Filippo Zibordi, mountainous ecosystem and large carnivore expert, specialized in protected area management and awareness raising, supporting NGOs and public administrations. Co-founder at Environmental Grants.

Frog conservation | Ghana

“I created a fundraiser for SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana and it raised $1,671 from 27 donors in the first six and a half hours.” – SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger. 

“Here are some reasons it was so successful:

  • I made a dedicated donation landing page where people could see how much had been raised and who donated.
  • I created a deadline of three days from the announcement date, with an actual reason why time was critical.
  • I gave very precise and tangible suggested donation amounts that corresponded to what people’s dollars would do for our efforts in Ghana (e.g. $19 covers one week’s rent)
  • I found a donor to match all the donations we received and I announced that as the primary benefit in the email headline: “We will double your donation through Friday”
  • I got straight to the point and asked people to donate in the first line of the appeal.
  • The email announcement had five separate asks with links to donate.
  • I announced the campaign via email to our entire list on Wednesday morning EST when most people were at their computers.
  • In the email I did not bring up any topics other than our Ghanaian frog conservation efforts.
  • I made the first donation so that the pot was not empty when the first visitor arrived on the donation page.
  • I used excellent photos on the donation webpage.
  • I included a paragraph from our staff in Ghana explaining how people’s donations over the past two years had been used and what we planned to do with their current donation.”

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger in Kakum National Park during the 2016 SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition, which was funded by over 300 donors who contributed $29,563 to make the month long expedition possible.

Do YOU have a conservation story that inspires you? We challenge you to dig a little deeper and uncover the role fundraising may have played in its success!

Do you want to learn more about fundraising for conservation? Check out our podcast for more advice from Elena Zurli from Environmental Grants and Dr Kerry Kriger of SAVE THE FROGS!

You can also learn more about fundraising in our 15 Key Conservation Jobs guide, or read fundraising insights and advice from professional conservationists on our Careers Advice Blog.

Turn your ideas into reality

Do you have a conservation idea you’d like to turn into reality? Our Fundraising for Conservation Projects online training programme helps you discover how you can have have more impact in your career by learning valuable skills in conservation fundraising.

Fundraising for Conservation Projects is an online training programme taught by multi-award-winning conservationist, and CEO of Elephants for Africa, Dr Kate Evans.

After completing this training you’ll understand how to secure more funding for your conservation projects. Making you more employable and impactful as an aspiring or professional conservationist. Learn more about Fundraising for Conservation Projects.

Careers Advice, Fundraiser