The European Outdoor Conservation Association Grant Program is a program that funds local initiatives from all countries worldwide except for the USA that protects threatened species or habitats. The project is run by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). It is open for applications twice a year: from the 1st of June to 30th of June and from 1st of November to the 30th of November. NGOs can apply for a grant up to € 30.000. To make it easier for you to decide if you want to apply for it, here are a couple of tips for preparing a proposal for the European Outdoor Conservation Association Grant Program.
What does the European Outdoor Conservation Association Grant Program fund?
The European Outdoor Conservation Association Grant Program funds projects that protect, enhance or restore habitats and species or broader ecosystems in wild areas. Wild, in this case, means not in an urban context. The project must identify and talk about the key threats to the species, habitats or broader ecosystems, and how it will protect and /or enhance them. Innovative solutions to known problems will be especially welcome! Think out of the box.
When applying for this program, you should keep in mind that the organization has three very strong requirements that you must fulfill. Projects who receive a grant must
- protect a threatened species or habitat;
- have a link to the outdoor enthusiast; AND
- involve hands-on practical conservation work
If your project does not fulfill all of the above, it does not make sense to apply. The grant program is financed by the European outdoor industry and thus needs to have a strong connection to the outdoor enthusiast. This could be enhancing the experience for outdoor tourists by protecting specific species or habitats, making an experience safer for both people and nature, or educating outdoor enthusiasts in a project. The link has to be clearly established though.
What does the donor want to see in project outcomes?
When applying for the European Outdoor Conservation Association Grant Program, the donors want to see very clear and precise project outcomes that need to be specified in the proposal. They have a point system to grade a proposal, and every aspect that is named here is worth five points in the rating system. Your project outcomes should point out the following:
- Conservation measures addressing specific issues and root causes
- Involvement/engagement of local people
- Education and communication
- Be measurable and time orientated
- Provide a legacy
If your project is chosen in the first round by the committee, you will move to the second round. Keep in mind, the committee who chooses the shortlisted proposals has scientists on it, so you should try to use precise data and case studies to prove your point. Don’t be too vague if not necessary!
There will be a public vote on shortlisted projects to determine the proposals that will win a grant. In this stage, you will need a EOCA member to nominate you, but if your proposal reached this stage, the organization will assist you to find a partner if you have no personal connections with the EOCA.
How can you apply and which documents should be included in the proposal?
If you decide to apply for the European Outdoor Conservation Association Grant Program, you need to fill out their online application form. In this form, you have to give details about your organization, your past work, and the project you propose. Before you fill out the application form, make sure you read and clearly understood all questions. Do not replicate information and make sure everything is in the right spot.
Furthermore, you should submit the following documents:
- Documentation that the organization is a registered nonprofit
- One or two references or letters of recommendation of former donors
- Budget in Euros
- A statement about other grants you applied for that you would need for the implementation of the project and match funding
- 2 to 3 pages of images that illustrate the problem and a map of the project area if possible
The EOCA specifically asks for precise and on the point applications to make the review process easier. Specifically, be very clear and precise on aims, goals, methods, and outcomes.
Best of luck with your proposal!