Amanda Bourne (of the Climate Action Partnership) attended a presentation by IDEA WILD, a US NPO that supports biodiversity conservation efforts by raising funds and donating equipment to conservation researchers and projects. This includes office equipment and software, lab equipment, field equipment, and some costs such as for a field assistant or for fuel or transport costs up to the value of $1,500.00. Itâ€™s a flexible system so you can get quite creative (though not too lavish) with requests.
At the moment, IDEA WILD is sponsoring an average of 30 projects a month. They define a project as the person doing the work so you can make multiple applications for a project and can also apply as an individual. Around 65% of applications receive their requested items.
The application process is very straightforward (click here for their proposal guidelines and application form). There is no application deadline but they do work with a three to six month turn-around time so apply in good time. When completing the application form, prioritise the items requested as they may not always be able to provide everything asked for. Since IDEA WILD does not give grants but rather equipment, there is no formal reporting process. All they would like to see is an acknowledgement of receipt, photos from the field, and an electronic copy of any final reports/dissertations/papers produced that were facilitated by the donated equipment.
The only minor hassle is that IDEA WILD does not ship goods internationally. You have to provide them with a US address and have someone in the US bring it over or ship it. For larger items such as motorcycles, they can send money by Western Union transfer. When filling in the request form, you need to quote US suppliers but they make this manageable by suggesting suppliers for the more common kinds of requests.
For more expensive gear and equipment, IDEA WILD recommends that you try applying to the Conservation Leadership Programme via email.
Application is a really easy process and may be a great way to equip some of your projects, field staff, and researchers with basic equipment such as cameras, laptops, tracking collars, GPS equipment and so on. You can check out their website to see the kinds of projects they have equipped in the past. These are very diverse from research to implementation to environmental education.