Fundraising at Rikolto

Towards more diversified funding

The shift in Rikolto’s organisational structure towards an international network organisation went hand in hand with a shift in our funding model. Since 2015 Rikolto has been working towards a more diversified funding portfolio and more fundraising via our different offices. Prior to that date, the majority of funding was secured through Rikolto’s then Head Office, and the local offices focused more on programme strategy than on finding the financial resources to implement their programmes. Furthermore, Rikolto was, and continues to be, predominantly dependent on subsidies from the Belgian government.  

In 2018 we continued in the same vein and took further steps towards:

  1. Reduced dependency on our main donor, the Belgian government: in 2015 DGD accounted for 69% of our funding. In 2018 the figure was 61%. 
  2. More local fundraising: in 2015 only 5% of all funding was secured directly by Rikolto offices. This increased to 17% in 2018.  

This means that our funding model also corresponds to international funding realities. Why, for example, would an Australian foundation wanting to fund our programme in Indonesia transfer money to a Belgian bank account, and not directly to our Indonesian office? As accountability, transparency and qualitative reporting are key to Rikolto, global financial reporting standards and quality control will continue to be the responsibility of the international office’s Finance department.

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 Advisor

Private fundraising in Belgium

Private fundraising is an important source of income for Rikolto: thousands of individuals in Belgium support our organisation and in doing so, they also show that we are widely endorsed. We aim to raise about 2 million euros on a yearly basis through three main sources: our annual fundraising campaign in January, donations and events such as the Rikolto Classics (mountain bike tours) and the “20 km of Brussels” run.


Rikolto is committed to clearly and transparently communicating to all its donors what happens with the funds we receive, and to leveraging these funds to maximise our impact. Since transparency is one of the key principles of our Planning, Learning and Accountability system, we put this into practice by making as much information accessible as possible: 

  • Clear programme descriptions on this website. 
  • 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 per country 
  • We adhere to the sustainability guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative in our annual reporting. Our financial section explains clearly how the money is spent

Apart from that, Rikolto endorses the Donor Bill of Rights, and we work with the following initiatives on transparency and accountability in Belgium: Association for Ethical Fundraising,,

Privacy of our donors

Rikolto uses personal data for administrative purposes and in order to inform people about our activities. We take the privacy of our donors very seriously and intend to be 100% transparent about what we do with personal data. In 2018 we have formalised our internal processes and ethical codes to guarantee the privacy of all data we use and ensure compliance with the European privacy legislation (GDPR). We did not receive any complaints in 2018. 

Partnering with companies for fundraising: our policy

Partnerships are part of Rikolto’s DNA: private companies, their corporate foundations and governments are important stakeholders in the accomplishment of our mission, contributing both to the implementation and the funding of our programmes.  

To transform the food system, we must involve companies in our activities. We believe that companies are one of the driving forces for society and that, as such, they can contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals.  

  • We partner with companies in specific programme activities, e.g. in Vietnam, rice companies are strategic partners in the development of a more environmentally sustainable rice sector.
  • We partner with companies to jointly apply for funding, e.g. for USAID, DANIDA and DGD funding. 
  • As part of our upscaling strategies, we engage in multi-stakeholder platforms, commodity platforms and networks, including the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership, Sustainable Food Lab, …, that include companies among their members.  
  • Companies and corporate foundations financially support our programmes worldwide, e.g. retailer Colruyt Group and its corporate foundation Colibri; Ford Foundation, … 
  • In Belgium, corporate teams participate in the “20 km through Brussels” run and are sponsored by their employer. Some Rikolto Classic bike teams also receive sponsorship from companies.  
  • Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs: we work with this organisation, which looks for Belgian companies that are willing to support or invest in specific Rikolto projects.