Insight to Building Partner Relations for World Cleanup Day 2018. Part III: Funding

Year 2016 is all about securing resources (leaders, partners, money) for a successful World Cleanup Day in 2018. When speaking of partnerships, we are perhaps talking of a key element that makes a Let’s Do It! campaign what it is.

Recently, I had the pleasure to listen to Stefan Hyttfors, an economist, journalist, a visionary who lectures on how innovation, disruptive technologies and behavioral change affects the world of business and social issues. I very much liked his simplification of the “food chain” of power players. His generalization was, that a good idea, however good, can be suffocated by lack of money. And that even money won’t do the trick if the politics stand in the way. But it is technology that due to its disruptive nature can find a way around, under or over the politics. I will be talking further about how partnerships are built for the technological solution that makes world’s waste mapping and World Cleanup Day function on the scale we are aiming for, but this time the focus is on money.

Kadi Kenk

Kadi Kenk

Individual Giving

Money tends to be an uncomfortable topic for people working in non-profit organizations. The selflessness of the mission in itself makes people forget that when we are asking for money, we are not asking it for ourselves. We need resources to deliver well-being and benefit to a wider public. Also, it is important to understand that people in their everyday life may not have the time to dedicate themselves for any cause, but would like very much to feel their involvement through a donation. The range of individual giving is under development, but you can do your bit already now here.

Let’s Do It Foundation is currently looking for a Chief Development Officer, to join the executive team and build a long-term strategy on involving partners and individuals for a clean world cause. You too can help to find her or him. Click here for additional info.

Grants and Foundations

All non-profits have gone down the path of being funded by different governmental grants, public and private foundations. The development of Let’s Do It! World movement has until today been funded by different Estonian state grants. Whether for helping to develop civic society or reducing CO2 emissions in third world countries, with more than 16 million people participating in Let’s Do It! campaigns in 113 countries, we have definitely earned the right to proudly promote: clean world starts from Estonia. And World Cleanup Day 2018 is our gift to the 100th birthday of Estonian Republic.

However, the funds this beautiful country holds are not nearly enough for World Cleanup Day and much more needs to be contributed. We wish that every country in the world could state that they are launching their own starting point for a clean world. With the help of volunteers and our partner Cumulus Consulting, we are addressing funders who care for environment, development of civic society and IT tools that facilitate the improvement of them both.

Currently, an application for 100 million dollars is in review in MacArthur Foundation competition 100&Change. They also understand that some problems can’t be solved by grants of the size that foundations typically provide. According to The Foundation Center, the average size of a foundation grant was about $138,000 in 2012. MacArthur Foundation decided that by funding at a level far above what’s typical in philanthropy, they can address problems and support solutions that are radically different in scale, scope, and complexity. $100 million is a large enough sum to focus on a serious problem and its solution in a meaningful and lasting way.

Our proposed solution is summarized in this 90 sec video and could be put down as follows: we will bring together 380 million people from 150 countries in one day to clean more than half a billion tons of waste and implement a plan to keep the planet clean (zero waste). For that money, we could clean up the majority of illegal waste in just one day and ensure at least 150 cities commitment to zero waste. For this particular application, we were partnering with Trash Hero World, Zero Waste Europe and JCI.

LDI Sandglass poster


I already referred in my previous article to the values, upon which our whole activity is based. We are aiming to find solutions together and partner on making a positive change. Our aim is to engage corporations in World Cleanup Day as funders, advisors, developers and communicators. Often, non-profits can be biased in their positions towards industry, if one or the other funds them. Because Let’s Do It! World is not pointing fingers at anyone, but concentrates efforts on building a better future, we strongly believe that any global corporation can find us a great partner. Call it CSR or ‘conducting business responsibly’, being the one helping to clean the world of trash is either way a noble thing to do. Let’s face it, considering trash ending up in the natural environment, we should look in the mirror before naming and shaming corporations. We all have our hands dirty.


Wouldn’t we wish for the Case or Gates Foundation, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Brandson or Leonardo DiCaprio to back World Cleanup Day? One man’s word and seed money could make the world of difference in making our activity more sustainable. It would bury the need to exploit volunteers (the hundreds of them that we owe thanks for eternity) and enable spending resources on fundraising activities – the time and energy we really need to act on the real problem – waste pollution and littering. Until such a supporter has come on board we are reliant on and highly grateful for the patronage of several prominent people, amongst them the President of Estonia 2006-2016, Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves and an artist and entrepreneur, Mr Oskar Metsavaht.

When people decide to take the path to dedicate their lives to helping the world, let’s not forget, ‘a lot can be made out of air and love’ (an old Estonian saying), but often the extra mile that helps us get from having an idea to making that idea save lives and improve the world, needs the bit that today is called money.


 Kadi Kenk, Let’s Do It! World Head of Partnerships


Read Kadi’s first article of the series here, the second text here.