Income generation report of Catchment Partnerships

Organisation: Environment Agency

Location: National

Type: Research

The Environment Agency commissioned the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to undertake a project exploring Catchment Partnership resilience.

The project involved CAF working closely with 4 Catchment Partnerships from across the country in 2019-20 to understand what are realistic and feasible sources of income generation to aim for.

Income generation is not easy for any organisation carrying out environmental work, and is becoming harder as reduced funding is available from almost all sources.

In this context, however, presenting a united front as a Catchment Partnership working together to create change and maximise available resources in a co-ordinated, strategic way, will be appealing to all donors.

Catchment Partnerships have a number of cross-cutting issues to consider in developing a fundraising strategy, including their governance, impact and strategy. Each Catchment Partnership should focus first on local and individual fundraising. This is because you have a large potential pool of volunteers and givers, it will generate unrestricted income that is purely for the partnership, and will best complement your existing activity and governance. However, Catchment Partnerships do need to be aware that this funding stream will need an investment of time and resources to be successful.

Following this, and with some unrestricted funds to invest in the core costs of running the partnership and its projects, the focus can turn to trust and foundation applications; wider government funding; to finding and securing corporate partnerships; and finally to major donations. The latter is likely to come from individuals who volunteer with and feel part of the Catchment Partnership over time; very few people give small let alone large amounts of money “cold”; but if these already exist and are known a lucky Catchment Partnership might be in a position to ask for and secure a major donation first: thus acting as seed funding and a catalyst for developing the other sources. For most of the income streams and sources explored in this report, Catchment Partnerships will have most success by framing their work with reference to its impact on people. Except for any new sources of Environment Agency funding and some corporate priorities, the impact on people is seen as key. Where funding sources are interested in the environment, this is increasingly becoming about climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the main the driver – if not now, then moving forward. Catchment Partnerships are advised to consider their role in these agendas (there are some examples from our pilot work on how to do this).

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