While a lot of collaboration can be achieved without additional funding, a little funding can go a long way to get a collaborative started. Effective regional adaptation collaboration takes a lot of effort. In addition to funding for regular convenings, day-to-day operations might include drafting collaborative deliverables and coordinating executive committee, member, and work group logistics.
Although a regional adaptation collaborative can help create momentum to add value for members and attract funding, it can be a challenge to strike a balance between creating funding opportunities for collaborative members and creating funding for a collaborative itself. Funders might want to fund a region (i.e. a county or an air or water quality management district) directly. It is important to keep the operations of the collaborative as nimble, efficient and focused on serving its members as possible to maximize impact. Also, ongoing communication among participants is key to ensure that a collaborative organization both helps to attract new resources as well as leverages the resources of any one member agency to help others where possible.
Charging dues, writing grants, and encouraging resource sharing by participants are all ways to support a regional adaptation collaborative. Based on the experience of the ARCCA regions, initial funding might need to come from collaborative members or a sympathetic philanthropic agency, in order to kick-start your local climate action work and help you to gain authority and legitimacy as a regional climate adaptation practitioner.
As individual member organizations are not likely to have dedicated time in their workload to support the collaborative on a regular basis, staffing these activities will facilitate more meaningful participation by members, and promote stability even as membership evolves. Securing funding upfront for this position allows this staff to focus on the management of the collaborative, including the pursuit of additional funding to move the collaborative forward on specific project and outreach efforts.
Having an agreed upon governance structure and at least a part-time staff person can help to navigate and negotiate these funding conversations.