Recording: Funding and Priorities - Conservation during Covid-19

A recording of the WildHub Festival session "Funding and Priorities - Conservation during Covid-19" on June 17th 2020

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A recording of our WildHub Festival session "Funding and Priorities: Conservation during Covid-19" on June 17th. Each of these panellists shared the challenges they are facing during these difficult times and participants gained insights in how they prioritise what is important to focus on for their organisations and/or grantees. The session was followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Target audience: Conservationists
 90 minutes

Organisers: Thirza Loffeld and Louisa Richmond-Coggan (LRC Wildlife Conservation) 

Moderator: Andrea Santy (Smithsonian Institution) 

Session Take-Aways (provided by moderator Andrea Santy):

  • Communicate frequently with donors is important and even more so during the pandemic. Past experience shows that those organisations that continue to fundraise during times of crisis are able to maintain a higher level of overall giving.
  • Donor are approaching the current pandemic with greater openness and honest conversation. This is an opportunity for organisations to discuss what’s working and where there are challenges. Likewise, organisations are showing greater flexibility in the use of funds and shifting deadlines.
  • Be strategic. Use the time to prioritise activities, identify areas for costs savings, and develop a solid short- and long-term plan. Show donors that you’ve thought critically about your activities and will use their funds wisely over the next months and years.
  • Look for opportunities and be creative and agile. This may be a time to step up your programming in new areas.
  • If you are working on community-based conservation, now is a time to showcase the resilience and importance of that work.
  • Be clear about messaging and, when relevant, the urgency of your work.
  • Look for opportunities to build new skills within your team. For those team members that may not be able to be in the field, look for other ways to engage them and show them another side of your organisation’s work.
  • Approach donors and staff with trust and care. This is a difficult time for everyone.

Andrea Santy

Director, Program Development, Conversation Commons, Smithsonian Institution

Andrea serves as the Director of Program Development for the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Commons, an action network that applies the Smithsonian's cultural and scientific expertise to achieve outcomes truly consequential to sustaining Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems. In this role, she serves as the major fundraising officer for Earth Optimism and Working Land and Seascapes, and lends her expertise in conservation and capacity building to strengthen and develop partnerships. Andrea joined Smithsonian after nearly two decades at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). At WWF she served as the Director of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program and contributed to the development of 2000+ conservation leaders across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. During her tenure, she led a $5-million program to build capacity for protected area management in the Andes-Amazon; developed a multi-year reforestation and restoration program; launched several fellowships programs in countries undergoing dramatic social, political and economic change; and partnered with SAS, a leading data analytics company, on a project to crowd-source data on global conservation learning opportunities. She co-founded the Conservation Leadership Community of Practice and was part of the planning committee for the 2019 Conservation for Capacity Building Conference in London, UK. Prior to joining WWF, Andrea had a brief but memorable stint managing the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center in Chilamate, Costa Rica, an experience that contributed to her passion for improving outcomes for people and nature. She has also served as an international student advisor at American University providing visa and cultural advising to thousands of international students. She taught English in Germany and Costa Rica. She also worked on the highly successful 1994 US PCS Broadband Action, the first ever spectrum auction. Andrea brings more than 20 years of experience in international education and exchange, conservation capacity development, and cross-cultural communications. She is fluent in Spanish. She holds a master’s degree in international communication from American University, Washington, DC and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH.
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