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Action Plan for Botanic Gardens in the European Union
Edited and compiled by Judith Cheney, Joaquin Navarrete Navarro and Peter Wyse Jackson for the European Botanic Gardens Consortium. (2000).

Funding to Implement the Action Plan
Chapter contributed by Peter Wyse Jackson

Botanic gardens are funded from a range of sources. Traditionally, most have been funded primarily by national, regional and local governments, municipal authorities and university administrations. Most still rely on such support, but botanic gardens everywhere are increasingly expected to raise more of their own resources, not only for special projects, but also for basic running costs. Many botanic gardens are administered by trusts, private or semi-private charitable and educational foundations or similar authorities, with varying degrees of independence. These boards are often developed in direct response to the growing need for private funding.

Fund-raising strategies to implement the Action Plan If EU botanic gardens are to achieve the objectives in this Action Plan, new sources of finding need to be found (see Box 16). Many gardens need to increase their funds to fulfil their roles as centres of taxonomy, identification, biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, horticulture, education and tourism. Substantial investment is required to strengthen infrastructure and build capacity for taking on new initiatives.

In responding to this Action Plan, institutions will need to decide which parts they can implement, and develop specific policies to do so. It is recommended that, to support this work, each institution should develop its own fund-raising strategy, including an estimate of the potential costs involved in undertaking any proposed action on biodiversity conservation or environmental education. An effective strategy should also establish clear targets and measures for evaluating the success of fund-raising efforts, as well as some fall-back options in case particular targets are not reached.

A sound financial plan should explore fund-raising opportunities in a variety of funding areas. In general, botanic gardens that receive funding from diverse sources are less vulnerable to changing political and economic circumstances than institutions supported by a single source.

BOX 16
Some potential sources of funds and other resources to support development and special projects in botanic gardens
  • Domestic government programmes supporting the implementation of the CBD, CITES, Agenda 21, and other international instruments
  • International governmental organisations and agencies, such as those of the United Nations, the World Bank and the Commission of the European Union
  • International non-governmental agencies, such as WWF and IUCN-The World Conservation Union
  • National or international private charitable trusts and foundations
  • Special public appeals
  • Contributions and sponsorship from commercial companies
  • Local support groups, such as a Friends of Botanic Gardens, and associated volunteer programmes
  • Legacies and other planned gifts from individuals and families
  • Earned income or enterprise operations, such as entrance fees, retail sales, commercial outlets, facility rentals, special events, training courses, consultancies and contracts
The strategy may include the development of a new or revised institutional image or ‘corporate look’. This might involve the development of new logos, graphics, letter-heads, publication styles and presentation, which will enhance fund-raising efforts and support enterprise operations. Fund-raising programmes generally require the production of a range of support materials, such as brochures, an annual report and summaries of development plans and project proposal.

Effective fund-raising also requires continued communication with private donors and representatives of funding agencies. An important role of botanic garden management and governing boards is communicating information about the institution’s work to key individuals and organisations in a position to provide support. This communication may be by printed material, garden tours and meetings, social events, formal or informal presentations, or simply networking among influential members of the donor community. Lobbying political leaders on the importance and role of a botanic garden may result in greater recognition of the institution and its programmes and hence lead to more sustainable government funding.

A regional approach
Fund-raising can also be undertaken at the regional level. A group of institutions can come together to co-operate in raising funds for a shared agenda. This Action Plan provides such a shared agenda on which to base the development of such collaboration.

Organisations such as BGCI, IABG, and their European Botanic Gardens Consortium and national networks of botanic gardens can co-operate in developing funding proposals for the implementation of a programme operating in several countries.

Commercial partnership supporting conservation: a nature reserve in French Guyana
The project concerns the acquisition of 2,464 ha of rainforest to develop into a nature reserve. The project was initiated by the Netherlands Regional Office of BGCI. Such projects need to be mutually beneficial. The garden gains access to additional funding opportunities or support in kind. The sponsors can use the publicity to improve their ‘green’ image. The project was made possible through political support from Utrecht University and financial support from several corporate partners, the main sponsor being Biohorma Beheer bv, which produces homoeopathic drugs.