Frequently Asked Questions

  • The goals of the Innovation Grants program are to achieve conservation results and move people to take action. What are you looking for in applications?

Ideally, Innovation Grants will focus on achieving measurable conservation results within the 12-month period (November 1, 2014 – October 31, 2015), while also engaging a target audience(s) in the process. We understand that in some cases, projects will be focusing on behavior change with the intention of achieving conservation results in the future. All successful proposals will need to articulate what conservation need or threat is being addressed, how those issues are related to the Toyota TogetherGreen conservation goals, and how the proposed project will address those issues.

The most competitive grants will achieve on-the-ground conservation results or behavior change over the course of the grant period. If a project focuses only on monitoring or the identification of priority conservation areas without achieving on-the-ground results or targeting behavior change, it will not be competitive.

  • What do you mean by “reaching new and diverse audiences”?

Audubon believes that a diverse conservation constituency is essential to conservation success and a sustainable future. Toyota TogetherGreen is designed to reach underrepresented* audiences as well as new audiences to increase the diversity of people taking part in conservation action. We are looking for projects that strive to do both: engage diverse and underrepresented audiences, as well as audiences new to conservation. How will your project broaden opportunities and engage targeted citizens, including underrepresented communities? Which underrepresented audiences will your project target? How will you build credibility with audiences you haven’t worked with before?

* We are defining underrepresented participants as those who have traditionally not been a part of the conservation movement and who have not had opportunities to connect with nature or take part in conservation actions. Underrepresented audiences can include people of color and low-income families, as well as those environmental stakeholders who have not considered themselves part of the conservation movement.

  • Why do you require a single Project Leader for each application?

Based on the past six years, we feel that each project is made stronger by declaring one person to be the primary project representative, or the project “champion”. This person is required to attend an in-person training in December 2014, is responsible for all grant reporting, as well as seeking media attention and being the spokesperson for the project.

  • Can the funds be used to conduct conservation monitoring activities such as species census programs that do not achieve immediate conservation results but help monitor the conservation value of existing habitats?

Monitoring activities, linked to specific conservation goals, are fine, especially if they lead to the long-term protection of species and habitats. To be competitive, monitoring activities should involve diverse communities, engage large numbers of participants, identify specific conservation targets, and ultimately lead to conservation results. Projects funded in the past have combined monitoring activities with on-the-ground action, such as beach clean-ups or invasive species removal.

  • Will I be allowed to change my conservation goals and objectives after my proposal is submitted?

Yes. Although we encourage applicants to think through their goals and objectives, we understand that situations change and opportunities arise and we encourage grantees to perform adaptive management with their projects.

  • I’d like to apply for an Innovation Grant but I'm not sure I can commit to the grantee workshop. Can I still apply?

The Grantee workshop is a mandatory requirement for all Project Leaders. If you already know you cannot attend the workshop from Monday, December 8 – Saturday, December 13, you should not apply for a grant. While this is a requirement, it is also is a great opportunity for high quality, free professional development.

  • Can my organization apply for more than one grant at a time?

Yes. Each application will be reviewed independently based on the same criteria outlined in the Applications Guidelines. In each case, remember that you must have a partner outside the Audubon network (or inside the network if your organization is not part of Audubon) to be eligible.

  • Now that you do not have a formalized volunteer program, do you have any other incentives you can offer to organizations wishing to use volunteers in their work?

Yes. If you are selected to receive an Innovation Grant or Fellowship and you plan to engage volunteers in your efforts, you will be eligible for a small financial award at the midterm of the grant period. During each grant period we will award 5 – 10 small grants ($1,000) to Grantees and/or Fellows who are using innovative approaches to recruit volunteers as part of their conservation efforts.

  • Can my organization apply for a multi-year grant? Or can we receive more than one grant?

Projects should be completed within the 12-month term of the grant, by October 31, 2015. If you have already received an Innovation Grant, you may apply for a second round of funding, as long as additional funding will build on the success of the first year’s grant, reach a new audience, innovate, and achieve new conservation results (One of the goals of the Innovation Grants program is to encourage as many new people as possible to take part in conservation projects). Reviewers will also be looking to see whether you are innovating based on past project challenges and accomplishments. Only a limited number of projects will receive a second grant, and we are unable to award a third year of funding.

  • What do you mean by the Audubon network and can my organization apply if it's not part of the network?

The Audubon network includes certified Chapters, state and national programs, and Audubon Centers, as well as independent Audubon groups. If your organization is not part of the network, we encourage you to approach an Audubon state office, Center, or Chapter to explore a possible collaboration (find an Audubon group near you here). If you can't find a group near you but still think your project is a great fit with the Innovation Grant guidelines, your organization may apply with partners of its own.

Individuals from outside of Audubon are also eligible to apply for the Conservation Leadership Program. See Fellows pages for more details.

  • Can the grant funds be used to buy land or purchase conservation easements on property?

No. Grant funds may not be used to buy land or purchase conservation easements on property. See Grant Restrictions (in the Application Guidelines section) for more details on funding restrictions.

  • Will we discuss evaluation strategies at the training session?

Yes. We will conduct sessions at the training focused on how to evaluate projects and the specific metrics that Audubon will be rolling up to assess the program’s success.