Successful trust fund operationalization

Published: 08 October 2015
Last edited: 05 September 2017

Skilled personnel, effective governance and functioning technical systems are essential for successful operation. Key elements to support this include training for National Conservation Trust Funds, staff and board members, establishment of clear accounting systems, operations manuals, learning from best practices, mentoring, and peer exchange.

In this regard, the CBF has established training on its accounting system for its staff. It has also become a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Conservation Trust Funds (RedLAC) to learn from similar institutions.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Inception phase

Enabling factors

  • Staffing: Hiring of a highly capable executive director. Additional support staff may also be needed.
  • Office: Set up initial logistical office operations.
  • Board: Establishment and training of the board of directors and executive director.
  • Committees: Establishment of board sub-committees and other advisory committees.
  • Development of an operations manual.
  • Finance and accounting.
  • Mentoring and overall organizational development.

Lessons learned

  • Developing all necessary systems (accounting, other operations systems) often takes longer than expected. It is important to establish realistic timelines for establishing a CTFs operation. Tasks for the appropriate set-up of operations multiply quickly.
  • Support from donors and partners; not only in cash, but also in-kind, is key during the initial 1-2 years of operations.
  • Mistakes along the way will occur and it is important to recognize and address these quickly and continue to move forward.
  • It is key essential to have formal and informal advisor and other kinds of technical support. Many other CTF are currently under operation and can provide important insights in this process. RedLAC is a key resource for example.

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