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Étude de cas

Helping an Amazon nonprofit preserve the rain forest

A pioneering South American nonprofit committed to preserving the Amazon rain forest needed a business strategy to achieve its ambitious goals. Since 2008, our Bain São Paulo consulting teams have served as strategic advisors to Rain Forest Org, helping it significantly boost fundraising, identify business opportunities and turn local communities into rain forest "guardians".

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En un coup d’oeil

  • $18M raised in 2009 from targeted contributors
  • 40% surge in funding in 2010 due to ongoing partnerships

Toute l’histoire

The Situation

Senior managers of Rain Forest Org* knew it needed to put the nonprofit on firm financial footing. But the organization lacked a long-term business plan for meeting two key challenges: creating a dependable source of fundraising to cover program and administrative costs and determining the best ways to sell its products and services.

Without a reliable source of funding and income, the innovative nonprofit jeopardized its mission to romote sustainable development of the Amazon rain forest, prevent deforestation and preserve the extraordinary biodiversity of the Amazon by replacing the income that local communities made from harvesting the forest.

To succeed, Rain Forest Org had cover the income gap for Amazon residents, located in 34 designated areas. They counted on the organization for family allowances and basic needs such as schools and healthcare. In exchange, their communities agreed to act as "guardians," committed to saving the rain forest.

Our Approach

Our Bain São Paulo case teams applied the same results-oriented consulting tools and processes that we use with our business clients to collaboratively develop solutions. Acting as strategic advisors, we helped Rain Forest Org's senior management develop a comprehensive business plan. The plan addressed each major challenge:

  • Fundraising: We identified and prioritized potential contributors to approach for funding as well as ways to market its services for each segment of contributors.
  • Income: Together, we defined ways to transform the natural resources managed by Rain Forest Org into tangible products, from helping companies and individuals reduce their carbon footprint to offering image licensing, in return for their financial contributions.
  • Community support: We determined how much income the organization needed to replace to convert local communities from rain forest harvesters into protectors.


Our Recommendations

Using our business plan as a roadmap, we recommended that the senior management team launch the following initiatives to build a sound financial future.
  • Pursue contributions and build financial partnerships with corporations, funds and the government—use pitch points based on data we developed that demonstrates how Rain Forest Org activities will increase per capita income in the region
  • Implement our product pricing strategy with projected revenue, costs and benefits for Amazon communities
  • Implement the annual budget collaboratively developed with our case teams

The Results

With our help, Rain Forest Org now has the financial engines needed to promote its goals: environmental conservation and improving the quality of life for Amazon residents. In just two years, the groundbreaking nonprofit has:

  • Dramatically increased funding
    • Raised $18 million in 2009 from targeted contributors
    • Surged 40 percent in 2010 due to ongoing partnerships
  • Reorganized conservation areas for improved management
  • Raised household incomes for forest guardians by supporting local activities including fishing and agriculture

Our collaboration was a win-win. With Rain Forest Org’s help, Bain São Paulo has reduced its carbon footprint significantly.

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