WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

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Bay Conservation - Changing the paradigm

Bay Conservation Inc. (BCI) will look to change the way that we run private sector conservation in New Zealand.

BCI has been set up by 7 community conservation groups in the Bay of Plenty (BOP).  BCI will support these groups with administration, fundraising and project management so that they can do more ‘hands on’ conservation.

 Working together the groups will have a greater and longer lasting impact on the conservation problems that we face. We will be able to focus our energies on tackling conservation issues rather than admin and fundraising

Through collaborative rather than competitive fundraising, we will gain financial muscle and the combined groups will provide a significant single voice for local conservation.


BCI will employ professional staff to deliver services to member groups.  BCI’s key innovation is the establishment of a subsidiary commercial enterprise to help fund the organisation. The intention is to become financially independent and sustainable from year seven. 

What conservation problem are you trying to solve?

  • Administration issues with small conservation groups
  • Fundraising issues - hugely time consuming
  • Competition between groups
  • Volunteer burnout
  • Lack of prioritisation
  • Lack of strategic direction and long-term planning
  • Pressure on group leaders to do volunteer management
  • Longevity - how many community groups will still be around in 20, 50 or 100 years time?

How are you going to solve this conservation problem?


  • Bay Conservation will be a professionally run organisation, initially with a CEO and an administrator/marketing coordinator. BCI will provide:

    Financial stability and strength


    Vision, strategy and prioritisation

    Administration services including accounting


    PR and media including website, social media, newsletter etc.

    Centralised purchasing and stocking of supplies and equipment.

    Training programme.

    Direct funding via a subsidiary company

    Direct funding via legacy programme and public membership and donations.





What makes your idea new and unique?


This is the first time that a number of community groups have agreed to collaborate with a view to overcoming the problems we all face.

Ultimately, all community and iwi conservation groups in the Bay of Plenty, could become members. 

The business operating model, support systems and procedures, would be established and refined before taking on wider membership.

Through establishment of the commercial entity, BC Ltd., BCI will become financially independent from year seven onwards.

Who will use your idea, and how will they benefit?

BCI will initially benefit the seven founding members by enabling them to do more hands on conservation work and to be more focused in what they do. In time this  benefit will spread to all community and iwi conservation groups in the BoP.   

The concept could be replicated throughout New Zealand with up to 20 or so regional community conservation organisations covering the whole of New Zealand coordinated by a national office.

This will be a powerful voice for the conservation community.

What tasks or activities do you need investment for? How would you spend a $25,000 grant?

Funding is required to assist with developing the new organisation Bay Conservation Incorporated (BCI).  

Each of the seven member organisations has a small amount of funding, which, along with its volunteer hours, is already fully allocated to each group’s own hands on conservation projects.  Establishment of the new organisation and development of the business plan, fundraising, project planning, operating procedures, marketing and recruitment will require a considerable amount of time and professional assistance that is beyond the financial and time resources of the seven member groups.

BCI has gained initial support from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Western Bay District Council to establish BCI and for development of the Business Plan; however, there is still much to do. BCI requires financial assistance for the following tasks:

·      Development and implementation of a fundraising plan, including funding proposals for such organisations as Ministry for the Environment, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, DOC,  BayTrust and Tauranga Energy Consumers Trust

·      Development of a ten–year Strategic Project Plan

·      Development of member agreements, including MOUs between member organisations and a Service Level Agreement with the parent organisation, BCI

·      Development of Standard Operating Procedures for the Board and staff, such as for health and safety, that are underpinned by a well-informed legislative framework

·      Development of staff job descriptions and recruitment of staff

·      Development and implementation of a Marketing Plan for recruitment and retention of new members, sponsors and supporters.

·      Initiation of a Legacy programme with Acorn Foundation

Development of a website.

Funding for a public launch event.

Are you a New Zealand citizen or resident?


I have read and agree to the Crowdicity Terms of Use, the Conservation Innovation Awards 2016 Supplemental Terms and Conditions, and the Crowdicity Community Guidelines


List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?

If the development of a set of Fiduciary laws made a difference, that would be great, I am not sure that I fully understand the concept. Likewise anything on the education front has to be encouraged, I like the idea of helping children get involved in pest control.

The Water Testing Device looks to be a handy tool that could provide a quick and simple way of testing water quality. I liked the Wasp Wipeout and harnessing the power of the media to spread the idea. I think the lizard proposal good as while we do skink monitoring and pest control, it would be great to have more knowledge

How could you improve your idea?

This idea has been gestating for some 4 years, and so has been considerably refined over the period. As we are an Incorporated Society with seven members, it is not up to me to make changes. We have a meeting to discuss our Business Plan on October 18th, There are sure to be changes agreed which may not be 'improvements' per se, but will be refinements. We can also be sure that as we progress, the idea will develop and be further refined as we learn from practical experience. Possibly one area that we will have to develop is the use of social media, though this is already anticipated in our Business Plan. So changes will be made but I think they need to be made in the ligfht of experience.

edited on Oct 12, 2016 by Julian Fitter

Julian Fitter Oct 4, 2016

The seven organisations that have come together to set up BCI are:
Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society Inc.
Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust
Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust
Western Bay Wildlife Trust
Uretara Estuary Managers Inc.,
Omokoroa Environment Managers Inc.
Waihi Beach Environment Society Inc.


The Forest Bridge Trust Oct 7, 2016

oooh - when you've set this up for the BOP can you get this happening in Auckland? It's a brilliant idea, you would be helping with all the things that community groups struggle with - admin, fundraising, long term planning.... Much more effective for you to assist and then collaboration would just take off. Hope you get there!


Julian Fitter Oct 7, 2016

Many thanks, your support is appreciated. - we are confident we will get there though it will be an interesting journey. It is i think an idea whose time has come.


Michele Frank Oct 12, 2016

hi Julian wondering if you are aware of The Taranaki Biodiversity Trust http://www.trc.govt.nz/taranaki-biodiversity-trust/ There goals are Raise the profile of biodiversity in our community.
Encourage people to get involved.
Engage with all groups with an interest in protecting the environment of Taranaki.
Support the work already being done by individuals, community groups and organisations.
Foster collaboration.
Develop new projects.
Raise funds to support this work.

The coordinator is Leigh Honor, they might have some advice regarding how they re funding


Julian Fitter Oct 12, 2016

Hi Michele,
Yes very aware of TBT, also of the Waikato Biodiversity Forum (WBF), but these groups include local government and industry and are dependent on them. BCI will be entirely independent, it will be a voice for biodiversity conservation and will work in partnership with Iwi, Councils, DOC and the corporate sector. TBT and WBF are dependent on ongoing funding from grants etc. and so are not sustainable. BCI aims to be financially independent in year 7, so while needing initial direct funding, from year 7 it will be able to support itself. We need to establish an organisation that is not dependant on the whims of councils and other funders, but that will be a truly independent voice and force for environmental conservation into the future. BCI is initially involves just seven groups, but the intention is to expand that to offer membership to all groups in th BOP. Firstly we need to establish systems, protocols and develop an income stream, once that is done then we will look to grow the organisation. It is possible, that in due course, the groups will actually merge, though this decision will be up to the members at the time. This will not affect the local nature of many of the projects and volunteers, but will remove most of the admin and some management and so enable them to do more work on the ground. If you had a blank sheet of paper and wanted to develop a system of environmental conservation you would not set up what we have today in NZ with 1-2,000 small groups all competing with each other and all dependent upon a very small cadre of volunteers for survival. We also work with no clear strategy and no prioritisation of conservation needs. If we do not establish organisations that endure and will be keeping up the work in 100 or 200 years time, we might as well pack up and go home now. TBT and WBF are great initiatives, which I fully support, but I also hope that when they see how BCI works, that they may morph into something similar.

We are all looking to an answer to the same problems that all small groups have, TBT and WBF have developed their own models which are certainly doing good, we think that our model is more approipriate for the long term,

BCI will initially seek funding from Councils, MfE and local philanthropic funders, all of whom have shown significant interest and have encouraged and financed the establishment of the Society and the writing up of our Business Plan. This longer-term funding will take some time to organise, will cost money and is not likely to start until July 2017, in the meantime we need start-up funding to cover a wide range of costs as indicated in the application above.


Christopher Wingate Oct 14, 2016

Dear fellow entrant.
I am hoping to get your support to vote for Dr Maggie Evans who only needs another 12 votes and needs them today. Her work is “critically important science” to help save critically endangered birds such as the Kakapo. Please take a look and lets all give her our support. We are all in this together. Cheers- https://wwf-nz.crowdicity.com/post/285779