Future Funding Conference 2024

Fostering collaboration between funders for better environmental projects in the Baltic Sea Region

10-11 September 2024, Gdańsk/Poland 

Site of the SONET coastal dune protection project in Latvia (c) BaltCF

The idea behind the Future Funding Conference

We need to make changes about how we finance projects to protect and restore nature – especially our seas and oceans. We private funders play an important role in helping NGOs and other grantees to actually do the protection and restoration our seas need – be it at the coasts, where land and sea meet, further inland, from where rivers bring water and much more to the sea, or actually below the water itself. We want to see the money we provide to be used in the best possible way. But the current ways of funding activities and projects mean we don’t always achieve the maximum effect with what we do.


Let’s have even more impact with our grants!

Funders often can’t or won’t offer 100% funding, but for NGOs – especially small ones most in need of external funding – combining different funding sources is so complicated that often projects can happen only partially, and sometimes they don’t happen at all. Let’s network better so we can point NGOs to other funding sources – or let’s even create some kind of shared application process!

NGOs often lack a good overview about the different options for private funding. They spend a lot of time writing proposals, sometimes tweaking boilerplate applications to cover different potential funders without having to write every application from scratch. As a result, funders often have to evaluate applications that are not well adapted to our priorities and needs. Let’s create a go-to database of potential funders so NGOs with a project idea can find the best fit!

Funders, in turn, lack information about new applicants and have a lot of uncertainty about whether new partners will deliver good results – while often lacking the time to diligently investigate scores of applicants on every call. Let’s have a way of quickly finding out whether potential project partners have a track record of delivering and fulfil all requirements!

The bureaucracy involved with application management, reporting and financial settelment is often frustrating for all sides. NGOs find themselves spending much of their time on paperwork, while funders are often faced with reporting requirements of their own, and may see their Excel report sheets or custom reporting forms are not ideal, but lack the ability to change that. Let’s pool resources to reduce the money spent on desk work instead of field work, while still having everything we need for our boards and state authorities!

Restoration works at the Ina river in Poland (c) Neil Aldridge

The event

The conference gathers funders and recipients of funding who contribute to marine conservation – be it by removing ghost gear from the seafloor or by restoring rivers far inland – and whose area of activity currently or potentially includes the Baltic Sea catchment. We will focus on how we can tackle the above-mentioned and other issues and improve the funding of environmental projects together to enable a more effective protection of marine ecosystems in general, and the Baltic Sea in particular. We will

  • present a concept for a funders’ network and a collaboration platform;
  • collect stakeholder feedback for the network concept and the platform in order to improve both;
  • conduct open discussions about the problems both sides face to raise awareness and understanding;
  • and while we’re at it: provide an opportunity for NGOs to pitch projects in need of funding.

Check out the preliminary program. Those who register early will have the opportunity to participate in two short, preparatory online workshops that introduce the network concept and the platform and provide space for first ideas and feedback. We will integrate this feedback for the main event.

Recovered ghost nets with starfish (c) Ghost Diving Germany e.V.

Venue and costs

The event will take place in Gdańsk/Poland at the conference hotel ARCHE Dwór Uphagena, situated in the historical centre of the city, but a bit away from the main tourist attractions and near an arm of the river Motława. There are numerous options for accomodation nearby.

Participants bear the costs of their own travel and accomodation. Upon registration, participants will get a code for a 15% discount on room prices at the conference hotel.

There is no registration fee as BaltCF bears the costs of the event. A networking dinner will be held on the evening of the first conference day at the restaurant Canis in the Old Town, to which BaltCF invites.

For the optional activities (city walk and excursion to Bird’s Paradise), participation fees will apply. A booking link will be provided shortly.