Fundraising at Rikolto

Towards more diversified funding

On the momentum of our functioning as a global network organisation, in 2020 Rikolto further entered into partnerships with influential actors on a local and global level. We were more proactive in identifying new partners and in deepening relationships with existing partners, especially engaging with those organisations with which we can build a mutually enriching, sustainable partnership based on common objectives and shared values. Transparency and open dialogue are key in our partner relationships, and we make sure there is a drive on both sides to learn from each other.

Strong and sustainable partnerships support us in our ambition for long-term growth and programme impact. In partnership with like-minded and complementary organisations we competed for several large donor funds in 2020. However, more efforts will be needed to further increase our success ratio, both on the level of partnership building as on building better donor intelligence. Yet, our existing portfolio of big donors is already quite impressive: DGD, IFAD, EU, World Bank, AGRA, USDA, Gates Foundation, IDRC, SDC, Enabel.

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

Private companies are important partners in the accomplishment of Rikolto’s mission. If we wish to change food systems and how specific agricultural value chains function, we have to team up with companies. We believe that companies are a driving force for society, and that they are essential to achieve sustainable food systems.

In 2020, we worked together to create inclusive business models, amongst others in partnership with Chocolats Halba, ECOM, OLAM, Subway, Lidl, Mars and Colruyt Group. We aim at improving inclusivity and transparency within the existing business models of the companies.

We partner with companies in multi-actor platforms, such as the Global Coffee Platform, the Sustainable Rice Platform, Beyond Chocolate, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), AMEA, … to jointly formulate policy proposals. Here, you can consult an overview of all the platforms and networks in which Rikolto takes part.

We also partner with companies to apply for joint project funding from donors that target collaboration between private actors and development actors. Or we invite companies to co-fund specific Rikolto projects.

Partnering with governments and multilateral agencies: changing the recipe

Rikolto believes in dialogue as an essential tool for change. For example, in our Food Smart City Programme we facilitate urban/peri-urban multi-actor platforms with direct participation of the city 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. This way we want to create enabling environments for specific value chains or for innovations in the food system.

Also governments support our programmes financially. The Belgian Development Cooperation is our main funder (DGD, but also Enabel); the Swiss, Dutch, Canadian and Australian governments are also among our funders. In some cases, we are sub-contracted by a local or national government for specific actions for which our added value is recognised.

Partnering with like-minded organisations: working in synergy

As we are entering in a new programme cycle, we explore all possibilities of cooperation and synergy, so that our programme can be implemented in the most effective and efficient way while ,on the other hand, being also as comprehensive as possible.

Besides the private actors, governments and multilateral agencies, we also have strengthened our relationships with other international development actors, as there are Lutherian World Relief (LWR), NCBA-Clusa, Technoserve, Heifer, Preferred by Nature; with other Belgian civil society organisations (VVSG, Fairtrade Belgium, Bos+, TRIAS, Join4Water, WWF, …); and with research institutes (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, VLIRUOS, KULeuven).

Private fundraising

Covid-19 made for an unprecedented fundraising year. We learned valuable lessons and were forced to be more innovating and resilient than ever before. Our private fundraising was challenged on all fronts.

The support of all these people, organisations, schools, youth movements and local authorities made 2020 not the disaster we feared it to be in March, but one of the most inspiring and warm fundraising years in Rikolto-history.

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. 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). Those websites publish the audited figures of Rikolto Belgium vzw. In this annual report we show you also 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 the 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 2020, we continued working on transparent workflows and elaborated (and updated) our privacy policy. The need for a user-oriented preference centre became more and more immanent. This project is currently in the hands of the privacy taskforce. This privacy taskforce also looks 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 2020 through the GBA (Belgian Authority for Data Protection). The individual complaints, questions and recommendations we received via our own channels form the basis of workflow improvements and are all taken up by the privacy taskforce.

  • Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct

Since 2018, we have 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. These shared values and principles apply to all employees, volunteers, interns and third-party entities such as consultants, partners and donors.

You can read them here.