Fundraising at Rikolto

Towards more diversified funding

Rikolto’s new organisational structure as an international network organisation goes hand in hand with a search for more and stronger partnerships with all the relevant stakeholders that want to join us in contributing to a sustainable and inclusive food system. To achieve our ambitious objectives, we need to build solid partnerships with private companies, development organisations, governments, research institutes and donors, contributing to both the implementation and funding of our programmes. By engaging all these stakeholders, we can expand our impact and make the difference that is needed.

In order to strengthen our (potential) partners’ involvement in our programmes, in 2019, we upgraded our Salesforce Database for contact management and partner & donor relationship management with the support of the King Baudouin Foundation.

In 2018, Rikolto has developed a policy and process to ensure that we can manage ethical risks associated with partnering up with and receiving funds from companies, corporate foundations and government actors. We wish to be a responsible and ethical organisation, implementing our programmes in a way that is honest, decent and truthful, and mindful of our responsibilities towards the communities we work with, our main stakeholders and the environment.  

Heleen Verlinden International Fundraising And Communication

Engaging in partnerships with private companies

To transform the food system, we believe that private food companies are an indispensable part of the picture.

We partner with companies in multi-stakeholder platforms, including the One Planet Network, the Global Coffee Platform, the Sustainable Rice Platform, AMEA and the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership, to jointly formulate policy proposals. An overview of all the platforms and networks in which Rikolto takes part can be found on this page.

On the other hand, we also develop specific programme activities with corporate partners. In 2019, we were a highly active member of the “Beyond Chocolate” network in Belgium, and as result we are partnering with the supermarket Lidl in a concrete inclusive business proposal for cocoa farmers in Ghana. We work with Subway in Nicaragua, sourcing vegetables from smallholders around Apanás Lake, with the goal of improving the livelihoods of these farmers and improving the ecosystem around the lake. Also, in Nicaragua, in 2019, we started a pilot on Sustainable Agroforestry Systems in Coffee and Cocoa alongside ECOM Trading.

Secondly, we partner with companies to apply for joint project funding targeting collaboration between private stakeholders and NGOs or we invite companies to co-fund specific Rikolto projects.

Partnering with Governments: Changing the recipe

Rikolto believes in dialogue as an essential tool for change. In our Food Smart Cities Programme we facilitate local multi-stakeholder platforms with the direct participation of the local and national authorities. Together, we formulate strategies and action plans to create a local food policy. At national level we partner with governmental actors, where we contribute to the development of new policies based on our experience from the field and research outcomes. In this way, we want to create environments conducive to specific value chains or mechanisms within the food system.

Governments also support our programmes financially. The Belgian Development Cooperation is currently our main funder; the Swiss Development Cooperation and the British, Canadian and Australian governments are also among our funders.  In some cases, we are subcontracted by a local or national government for specific initiatives in which our added value is recognised.

Co-creating impact with donors

As far as possible, we try to involve our donors as partners. We consider frequent and transparent communication and even direct donor involvement as a great opportunity to extend our impact. In an ideal situation, we co-create the funding or investment proposal from the start and have a joint continuous improvement process.

Private fundraising

The donations that Rikolto receives from different stakeholder groups in Belgium are still an important source of income: thousands of individuals in Belgium support us, and in doing so, they also show that our work is widely endorsed. In 2019, 6,644 people supported us with one or more donations throughout the year.

Our fundraising is based on three main sources: our annual fundraising campaign, in January, on which we collaborate with thousands of volunteers; donations and sponsorship events, such as the Rikolto Classics (mountain bike tours) for which sports enthusiasts reach out to their own networks (work colleagues, friends, family, etc.) to get sponsorship; and donations throughout the year from loyal private donors. In 2019, we started a fourth fundraising model: The Biggest Dinner (in the World).

Principles that we hold dear when working with partners and donors

  • Transparency

Rikolto is committed to clearly and transparently communicating with all our partners and donors on how we spend our resources. We make our information accessible through:

  1. Clear programme descriptions on our website.

  2. Commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and compliance with its reporting standards: on our website you can find an overview of the activity files for each country.

  3. We adhere to the sustainability guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative in our annual reporting.

  4. Our financial section in this annual report gives a clear overview of resources and expenses for all our programmes. 

Apart from the above, Rikolto endorses the Donor Bill of Rights, and we work with the following initiatives on transparency and accountability in Belgium: Belgian Association for Ethical Fundraising, Donorinfo.be (a private initiative), Goede Doelen (King Baudoin Foundation) and X-Bank (Belgian NGO-federation). These websites publish Rikolto Belgium vzw’s audited figures. In this annual report, we also show you the consolidated figures for the worldwide Rikolto group (Rikolto Belgium vzw and Rikolto International s.o.n). As accountability, transparency and qualitative reporting are key to Rikolto, checking adherence to global financial reporting standards and quality control will continue to be the responsibility of the Global Finance Support Team.

  • Privacy

Rikolto uses personal contact data for administrative purposes and to inform people about our activities. We take the privacy of our donors very seriously and want to be 100% transparent about what we do with personal data. In 2019, we continued working on transparent workflows. We started a privacy taskforce to look at possible data breaches and ways to upgrade our data management to ensure compliance with the European privacy legislation (GDPR).

We did not receive any formal complaints in 2019. 

  • Ethical code

Since 2018, we have had a clear internal policy to manage the ethical risks associated with partnering with and receiving funds from companies, corporate foundations and government actors. Moreover, in 2019 our International Board of Directors approved an organisation-wide Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. The aim of the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct is to help us to make informed decisions in response to the ethical dilemmas that we all face at work, to promote an ethical culture throughout the organisation and to show what we stand for as Rikolto members. These shared values and principles apply to all employees, volunteers, interns and third-party entities such as consultants, partners and donors.