Water: Watershed Funding
San Juan Bay Estuary Program Finance Workshop Notes June 28-29, 2007
The objective of the workshop was to create a fundraising plan for the San Juan Bay Estuary Program (SJBEP) that increases their organizational capacity and reduces their reliance on US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 320 funds. Improved funding means more resources available to the SJBEP to protect and restore the San Juan Bay estuary. Building on a draft fundraising plan (“A 2007-8 Fundraising Plan for the Corporacion para la Conservacion del Estuario de la Bahia de San Juan”) that identified four potential funding sources, the EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds Sustainable Finance Team (SFT) worked to:
- Establish organizational priorities
- Assess organizational capacity
- Establish a fundraising budget and goals
- Explore relevant fundraising options
- Select effective fundraising strategies
- Create a plan that establishes how and when each strategy will be carried out.
The facilitators for the workshop were Tim Jones (EPA) and Rakhi Kasat (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education) from SFT. The workshop was attended by the EPA Headquarters National Estuary Program (NEP) Coordinator, the Regional NEP Coordinator, the SJBEP director and staff, SJBEP board members, and SJBEP volunteers. The workshop was developed through collaboration between the finance team, the SJBEP director, and the SJBEP fundraising specialist.
Thursday, June 28th
(The first half of the day was for SJBEP staff and NEP coordinators, while the second half of the day was open to SJBEP board members and volunteers)
I. Welcome and Workshop Overview
We discussed the workshop goals and reviewed the agenda. The focus of this session was to ensure we were meeting the needs of the group.
II. Organizational Priorities and Capacity
We facilitated a brainstorming session with the group to identify the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of the SJBEP. The results provided a context for developing ideas that were realistic and within the capacity of the SJBEP.
III. Budgets and Fundraising Goals
We facilitated a discussion of how to use existing resources for fundraising (with a focus on 320 fund restrictions) and helped SJBEP set a fundraising goal and brainstorm ideas for use of additional money raised (both long-term and short term).
IV. Welcome Stakeholders
We talked briefly about what we hoped to accomplish that afternoon.
V. Current Proposals/Asset Mapping
We listed the pros and cons of each of the four funding mechanisms the group was considering. The group then divided into smaller groups to do an asset mapping exercise for each of the funding mechanisms. The presentation of each asset map sparked a discussion of the resources available in the San Juan community to help access the funding source.
VI. How to be a great fund-raiser: board and staff
We discussed the roles of board and staff in fundraising, walked through the steps of how to ask for funds, and led a role playing exercise in which participants practiced the “ask.” We also discussed the value of involving the entire staff in fundraising.
Friday, June 29th
I. Innovative Funding Mechanism
We had a conference call with the Indian River Lagoon NEP director to learn more about an innovative funding mechanism their program uses.
We reviewed the material and discussion from the previous day.
III. Innovative Funding Mechanism II
We had a conference call with the director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust to learn more about an innovative funding mechanism the Trust uses to support their program.
IV. Create the Fundraising Plan
We worked to create the foundation of a plan for the funding mechanisms the SJBEP chose. We discussed creating a timeline, staff assignments, and goals for their finance plan.