Many people ask us where we get the money to do the work we do, and assume we get some funding from government. Well, we don’t!
We do, however, get a tax status as a charitable organisation, and therefore do not have to pay GST on any donor funded materials that we bring in for our projects. This is actually a big help and can save us a lot of money. Most of our funding sources however, are explained below.
While the core of our membership consists of individual and family supporters, we also rely heavily on local businesses, as corporate members, to fund much of our core costs that allow us to spend time on activities in our five strategic areas. These areas are Youth, Eco-Sustainable Development, Waste Management, Biodiversity and Climate Change.
The society has for a number of years had three levels of corporate sponsors: gold, silver and bronze. The membership donations for each tier is $1000, $500, and $200 respectively. Not all provide monetary support, as some of our corporate members support us by providing pro bono (free) services, which helps us save a lot of money.
In response to those in the business sector that wish to provide greater support for the work we do for the Cook Islands environment, we have this year added a fourth tier of membership. We have called this a Platinum level, with a membership donation of $5000.
In recent years, our gold level sponsors have included the Big Fish Dive Centre in Arorangi, Air Rarotonga, CITC, Vonnia’s, the Dive and Surf Shop in Mana Court, Ocean Fresh, Ariki Holidays, Pacific Resort, Manuia Beach, Kia Taeria, Turamatuitui Bakery, Cook Islands Steel, Palm Grove and Kia Orana Villas.
Over the same period, our Silver level sponsors have been Jetsave/Western Union, Czechmate Computers, Cook Islands General Transport, Café Salsa, Moana Gems, Koko Lagoon Tours, Goldmine, and Sands Villas. The bronze level sponsors have included Timberland, Coral Sands, Inangaro Design, Tumunu, Rongohiva Watersports, Tropic Sands, Etu Moana in Aitutaki, Prime Solutions, Kiteroa Enterprises, Ikurangi Eco-Retreat, Tumuora Gym and Reef Sub.
Without the generous support of these sponsors we would not be able to do the work we do, and we are extremely grateful to all these companies that have been able to offer this support. This money goes a long way towards meeting our operational costs such as rent, power, and communication costs. Though we do rely heavily on volunteer input from our members, we do also have staff that need to be paid. This is our other major funding need.
In order to be able to pay for the technical assistance inputs to our work, as well as materials, we put in project proposals to funding organisations such as the Global Environmental Facility Small Grant Programme (GEF SGP). We also get project support funds from Birdlife International and apply to the occasional Government tender for services when we have the capacity among our staff or membership to do the job.
Mana Tiaki donations & Merchandise
Because funding from donors is not always guaranteed, the society tries to be as self-reliant as possible by raising our own funds. We have placed Mana Tiaki donation boxes at various establishments around the island, where anyone can donate to the work we do. Muri Beachcomber and Ikurangi Ecoretreat also assist us in getting donations from their guests for Mana Tiaki. We have also recently started selling reusable stainless steel bottles which are insulated to keep beverages warm or cold. These 800mL bottles come in a range of colours and are selling for $25 each.