Indian Centre for Applied Sustainability Solutions (ICASS)

Applied Science for India’s Future

Introduction and Background

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 70 countries, with a new program in India. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

TNC is registered in India as a not-for-profit Section 8 Company. The team is comprised of 16 high-performing individuals with an annual operations budget of around USD $5M. We are focused on 8 projects that advance environmental solutions for some of India’s most pressing challenges. Currently our programs cover 6 States of India and we are working with 10 partner organizations. Both program operations and budget are growing at a healthy rate. We are working hard to demonstrate conservation results and achieve early “win-wins” that promote equitable economic development while conserving natural resources for people and nature.  We aim to meet increasing demands for energy resources, water supply and food production with low environmental impact, and in a mindset where nature is seen as a critical input to these key human needs. We do this by engaging governments, the private sector and civil society to ensure that conservation is a critical outcome in economic development. We address challenges to nature and people involving climate change, cities, freshwater, lands and livelihoods. TNC pursues a shared nature-people agenda and is working to demonstrate that conservation and development can be pursued in tandem. Visit to learn more.

For people and nature to thrive together in India, decision makers in government and businesses must advance conservation programs that integrate economic growth with sustainability measures. India needs win-win, science-based solutions that are scalable and actionable.  Those solutions are not always readily available to them.  The Tata Trusts and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are helping to bridge the gap between decision makers and science-producing organizations by catalyzing an Indian Centre for Applied Sustainability Solutions (ICASS). The Centre will facilitate the development of science-based solutions for on-the-ground sustainability and policy challenges, thereby offering decision-makers a path to balance economic growth with natural resource conservation.  During this initial phase, we are advancing the development of a business plan for ICASS that will help determine the overall goals, objectives, model, and actions of the Centre. We are now seeking a consultancy to support the development of a fundraising plan and its execution to advance the business plan and develop financial sustainability for the Centre.

Consultancy Context

The intention of ICASS is to build collaboration between research institutions, governments, civil society, industry, and nongovernmental organizations to address complex problems that require collective impact at an unprecedented scale. ICASS will support research and thought-leadership activities, as well as on-the-ground conservation projects that contribute to sustainable development goals, human well-being, economic growth, and conservation goals. A key role for ICASS is to facilitate information sharing across organizations so that organizations can work more effectively, avoid duplication of efforts, and bring programs to scale using the best tools and partnerships.

ICASS is still in a conceptual state. In its initial stages, it will be housed within TNC India and be a collaborative initiative managed with a variety of partners. The intent is for ICASS to mature into a standalone collaboration managed by a consortium of partners over time. A business plan is currently in development and scheduled to be finalized of the coming months. A key component to shaping the business plan is understanding government funding for related initiatives and engaging with prospective donors for their feedback on the Centre.

The purpose of this consultancy is to research current funding for science-based conservation efforts in India. This includes extensive research in current national and state government funding, as well as prospective donors for ICASS. This consultancy should help inform the business plan regarding if/how to leverage government funds in support of science-based conservation in India. It will also inform potential sources of funding for ICASS to be financial sustainable over time and identify key donors that should be engaged during the development of the Centre’s business plan to ensure it aligns with their priorities and helps build a collective effort. The research should consider the options for funding from within India and abroad, with an initial prioritization for donors based in India and should be complementary to current TNC fundraising efforts.

Scope of Work and Timeline

Phase 1: Research Government Funding for Similar Initiatives (2 months)

  1. Prepare and submit a detailed work plan to complete the consultancy within the given timeframe.
  2. Research current national and state government funding flows, outlining the funding department, what funds were invested in, and related outcomes (if available). Research should include conducting interviews with TNC staff and consultants.
  3. Share research with TNC staff and consultants developing the ICASS business plan; assess opportunities for leveraging government investments and initiatives with ICASS. Support business plan updates to reflect findings as appropriate.

Phase 1 Coordination: Weekly coordination calls with TNC staff (Managing Director and Partnerships Manager), calls approximately every 3 weeks with the TNC staff and consultants supporting the development of the ICASS business plan to begin incorporating initial findings, and any additional calls required.

Phase 2: Research Prospective Donors to Engage (2 months)

  1. Research trends and current funders for research and science-based conservation in India—identify who are the key funders, what are they currently funding, why they may be interested, and their funding potential. This should include corporate, bi-lateral, and multilateral donors in India and abroad. Research should include conducting interviews with TNC staff and consultants.
  2. Present findings to TNC staff and consultants developing the ICASS business plan. With TNC and consultants, prioritize key donors who should be engaged to provide input to the draft business plan.
  3. Coordinate, execute, and follow up on outreach meetings to prioritized donors with TNC staff, if appropriate.
  4. Present final recommendations and summary of work completed.

Phase 2 Coordination: Weekly coordination calls with TNC staff (Managing Director, Partnerships Manager, Director of Development), additional calls as required.


The primary deliverables for the consultancy include:

  1. Summary report and presentation on government funding initiatives: A summary report that outlines the relevant national and state government funding sources, including the various departments, amounts, funding initiatives, and areas of mutual interest. The report should also include recommendations for how ICASS may leverage and support those initiatives based on conversations with TNC and consultants.
  2. Summary report and presentation on prospective donors: A summary report on donors who have supported similar initiatives, including corporations, bi-lateral and multilateral institutions, foundations, and individuals (if relevant). The report should identify which donors may be interested in supporting ICASS initiatives and, in coordination with TNC and consultants, prioritize prospective donors for outreach and engagement on the ICASS model and business plan.
  3. Final recommendations and work completed summary: A final summary report that highlights key findings, recommendations, and a summary of work completed.


Payment will be executed in line with the submission of the following key deliverables:

  • At contract signing: Initial 25% payment
  • Presentation of government funding research: 25% payment
  • Presentation of final recommendations and work completed: All deliverables submitted – Final 50% payment

Payment will be made after deducting applicable taxes in India. Withholding tax certificate will be issued to the consultant as per Indian Laws.

Required Skills

  • Familiarity with funding models and practices in India and abroad
  • Familiarity with prospective funders in India and abroad
  • Familiarity with researching donors
  • Experience developing proposals and fundraising
  • Experience engaging with a variety of funding institutions
  • Preferred experience and familiarity with fundraising for section 8 non-profits
  • Preferred experience with academic, think-tank, non-profit, or research institutions

Consultancy Characteristics

  • Duration: the consultancy is to last for 4 months, start date is anticipated in October
  • Communications: the consultants are expected to provide periodic updates to TNC staff and ICASS consultants throughout the consultancy period.

Proposal Requirements

The proposals for consideration must include:

  1. Summary of qualifications, including:
    • Company or individual with name
    • Education
    • Related experience and qualifications
    • Examples of related work/product portfolio (can be via the company’s website)
    • Budget
    • Bid validity (minimum 45 days)
  2. The budget should contain:
    • Description of products
    • The amount (in the estimate include the products, travel-related costs, and data collection-related costs)
    • Total cost (in rupees or dollars?)
  3. Contact information, including the company or individual name, address, telephone number, preferred email contact

Please keep proposal length to 5 pages maximum, size 11 font. Additional links and references may be provided. The proposal must be sent no later than October 29, 2018 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time) to TNC, hrtncindia@TNC.ORG