Crowdfunding to Help Baikal

13 february 2017

Is crowdfunding going to help raise public awareness and get money for environmental protection initiatives in the Lake Baikal area? Where should we start with an outreach and information work and how can we convince businesses that they will see return on their investments? At the Analytical Center experts talked about the experience of the Russian and foreign crowdfunding platforms in raising money for environmental protection projects.

Denis Yershov, Head of Department for International Co-operation of the Analytical Center, reminded those present that 4 priorities had been identified for the project to preserve and develop Lake Baikal - these are preserving the biodiversity, eliminating the accrued damage, economic development, and tourism. And the other priority tasks include creation of alternative sources of financing the environmental protection activities. "Historically, environmental protection projects and measures implemented in the regions primarily get financing from the federal treasury," Mr. Yershov said. "We want to change that paradigm and get business interested in investing money in environmental protection projects." The Russian market has recently started moving in that direction but the leaders have already begun to show, according to the analyst.

PR manager of Planeta.ru Natalia Ignatenko noted that crowdfunding combines the stages of the idea verification, financing and the project PR support into a single process. In practice, every project promises several elements: a name, a financial goal and a period during which it is to be promoted and money is to be raised for it. "We recommend making video presentations to get all the basic ideas across to most people in an easy-to-follow and visually stimulating format," Ms. Ignatenko stressed. An integral part of any project is its description and this must include not only standard background information but also a budget showing what the money's going to be spent on. Information about the bonuses that sponsors will get in return for their support is equally important. They can come both in the form of money and in the form of freebies. "Lake Baikal is a good fit for crowdfunding. The most important thing is to understand that a project will get a lot of money if the author tries and calls attention to it," Ms. Ignatenko summed up.

As part of the event the experts discussed options for measures and tools that could help raise money and call public attention to the Lake Baikal projects. However, some experts believe that promotional efforts should start in the regions where people at large do not get much news or general information about the "Baikal: Great Lake in Great Country" project.