Better Organizations for Nature -Project and Opportunity Fund

The intent of this fund is to prompt and support organizations to improve their activities and projects to meet their missions by applying Engagement Organizing practices.   The fund also will support organizations who wish to take advantage of special opportunities to recruit and mobilize within their target audience.  A crisis can be an opportunity to make contact with interested individuals.

In accordance with the mandate of the Gosling Foundation, the fund is directed to initiatives that protect nature and lands of particular ecological significance. Determination whether a project meets this criteria and falls within the mandate of the Foundation is at the discretion of the Gosling Foundation Board of Directors.

 

Funding Available

Up to ten thousand dollars over one to three years.

 

Types of Projects/Expenditures Supported

The activity for which funds are being sought should  result in the organization being stronger as determined by specific measurables (increased membership, number of contacts, fundraising, project participation or other parameters relevant to your mission).  Examples include:

  • Recruiting supporters or members through a particular engagement opportunity (ex. a significant local species is declared endangered and garners widespread media coverage)
  • Training and/or coaching of volunteers, board members or staff in aspects of engagement organizing occurring in the context of a particular project or goal (ex.  A particularly ecologically significant property is available but requires the local community to step up to purchase and steward it).
  • Appropriate software has been identified to enhance interaction with members in order to track their participation in the organization’s activities.
  • Members of an organization have been targeted to increase their purchase of an ecologically friendly product aligned with the organization’s mission.
  • Other

Features of the Project and Opportunity Fund

  • Incorporates learning to better meet mission –experimentation encouraged.
  • The impact of your activities are measured over time to learn how to succeed.
  • Open sharing of lessons learned required.  Experience gained will be posted for others to benefit in support of nature.
  • Accessing the support of an engagement organizing consultant in shaping projects is strongly encouraged.

 

How to Apply

  • Research how engagement organizing can help your organization meet its mission in general and your project in particular.   Visit the Engagement Organizing resource page at the Sustainability Network. When available, attend an Engagement Organizing learning event.
  • Contact the Gosling Foundation’s project consultant by email ( skozak@goslingfoundation.org ) to briefly outline your proposal.
  • Obtain an application form and complete  in draft.
  • Conduct an optional but recommended consultation with an Engagement Organizing consultant to evolve you project.  Consultant contact information will be provided by the Gosling Foundation.
  • Complete your application and submit to the Foundation's project consultant by email. 

 

Learn from these Previously Funded Organizations and Projects

  1. Couchiching Conservancy - Passport to Nature

The Conservancy received $3000 in support of its Passport to Nature project that involved open houses at ten of its ecologically important properties.  Through the open houses the Conservancy sought to enhance membership and donations over the following year.

Engagement Organizing Consultant’s Suggested Enhancement –Use the passport event as an opportunity to visit land trust site neighbours who benefit from the conservancy's work.  Ask them to attend an event and to sign a pledge to protect the important habitat within their neighborhoods.

Lessons Learned

  • Over 50% of the two hundred participants were new to the conservancy.  This group generated $280 in on site donations, 35 email contacts and three new memberships.
  • The Passport to Nature project provided a very successful context to approach businesses to sponsor an event.  Funding from sponsorship significantly exceeded the cost of the project making it a significant fundraiser.
  • Production of a physical passport document had additional benefits in communicating the conservancy's work and highlighting businesses that sponsored events.
  • Management of numbers attending was a challenge.  Some events were over subscribed and resulted in people being turned away.
  • The application of Engagement Organizing should occur at the project design stage.

2. Thunder Bay Field Naturalists -Vascular Plant Checklist

The Club is active in its community protecting nature in a number of ways not least of which is through its land trust activities. It has 14 ecologically significant land reserves.   The Foundation was approached for $4000 to support for the production of a Vascular Plant Checklist, a valuable tool in identifying candidate reserves and providing the scientific evidence to support the ecological significance of natural sites in the area. The Vascular Plant Checklist also receives considerable use as an educational tool in undergraduate courses at the local university. The budget for the project was $10 000.

Engagement Organizing Consultant’s Suggested Enhancement –Verify the importance of the project to the club’s membership by seeking matching funding.  Accordingly the Gosling Foundation offered $2000 in support conditional on matching funding from the membership.

Lessons Learned

  • The Club made appeals to its membership through its Facebook page and the club’s monthly newsletter.
  • Social media extended the reach of communications beyond the regular contact list.
  • The club members indeed believed in the project.  Eight members provided donations to a total of $2184.