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Nature Trust Alliance: a partnership for shared services to save on administrative costs

Published: 09 January 2019
Last edited: 01 April 2019

PONT is part of an unique cooperation between three funds called the Nature Trust Alliance (NTA), to share operational services. NTA was established between the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) and PONT in June 2016. In March 2017, Blue Action Fund joined the working partnership. The mission of NTA is to “provide operational support to our partners to allow them to focus on their core missions in nature conservation”. The NTA office is located in Frankfurt as all three partner funds of NTA are registered foundations in Germany. NTA enabled PONT to establish its Regional Programme Office in Tirana, Albania from which the grant programme is managed. Through this partnership for shared services, PONT is saving costs for administrative purposes (payments; accounting; reporting; audits; investment support; communication).

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Scale of implementation
Multi-national
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

Strengthened negotiating position with external service providers (banks, auditors, etc.)

 

Economies of scale by pooling certain services

 

Efficiencies in developing and implementing new procedures, systems and legislation compliance (1 time developing/3 times used)

 

Shared Investment Committee and investment policies (for CNF and PONT)

Lessons learned

It is important to analyse, define and agree on potential shared services. If there are no expected economies of scale it is not advisable to make it a shared service as the level of complexity increases in a shared services set-up. Identical type of services fit better in a shared services concept. In the case of NTA this means that administrative and investment related services in Germany are shared services. As the grant programmes and the site-specific administrative services are different for the three funds these are not included under the shared services.

 

Expectations, procedures and a management / governance structure should be discussed and agreed from the start. Clear and easy communication and decision making tools should be established. Regular knowledge sharing enables continuous improvement through learning from each other. An existing shared service office can be very beneficial for new funds in their start-up phase enabling a quick start. However, the entry of new partner fund should be carefully considered and there should be enough common elements to be beneficial.