2020 ANNUAL REPORT

North America

Although the United States experienced one of its most tumultuous years in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic and dramatic political tensions, Solidaridad was able to not only grow its team and meet fundraising goals, but build new and exciting relationships for the coming strategic period.

Highlights

Fundraising

In the midst of globally interrupted plans, Solidaridad’s team in North America pivoted to adapt with current partners and collaborate with new partners. The office reached its goal of $1.2 million in signed contracts.

Corporate engagement

In addition to nurturing existing relationships, Solidaridad sparked new 6 global corporations with general relationship building, policy advice, and partnership commitments.

Increasing visibility

With a small team and a dramatically different year for events, we boosted engagement in North America through participation and hosting of 3 panel events related to impact investment, agtech, and women in agriculture.

Results

A deep dive

Growing impact

The North America team grew in 2020, dramatically expanding our capacity to fundraise and pursue opportunities to support global work. This has led to the development of new partnerships and leads, and growing visibility in the region.

Corporate engagement outreach in 2020 led to some promising new relationships with some of the largest global corporations who are particularly interested in our digital strategy. This led this multiple letters of support and verbal commitments that we will follow up on into 2021. In addition, we took on an advisory role with some corporations, including advising Walmart on their forestry strategy. Finally, our participation in stakeholder dialogues and coalitions has increased our visibility and opportunities to build new connections.

We have built communications capacity on internal and external levels. Internally, we have established working relationships with local designers, videographers, illustrators, and web developers to support on a project basis. We have also improved our office-level knowledge management and content availability to support grant writing, pitch decks, and other outreach. On an external level, we have boosted our small following on LinkedIn, and engaged in public speaking opportunities through events such as SOCAP and AgriLinks, and created a longer term strategy for visibility and engagement.

The North America team provided programme management support in a number of areas throughout the year, most notably including the USAID W-GDP WomenConnect-funded project working with women dairy farmers in Bangladesh. This included supporting the human centered design research development process, report creation, and donor relationship management. North America also supported with the CERES and NORAD sponsored research on supplier incentives to prevent deforestation in the Amazon. Finally, the North America team participated in the development of social inclusion indicators for the 2021-2025 strategic plan. 

Innovation Areas

Insights

Exploring new avenues

With increased team capacity, we have not only opened new doors for partner conversations, but also began exploring new pathways for impact, bringing together the expertise of the Solidaridad network with the priorities of the North American donor market.

The development of the strategic plan for 2021-2025 brought together gender experts from each region, including North America, to help design the social inclusion indicators covering gender, youth, and indigenous communities. 

Through a sponsorship with the Social Capital Markets event, SOCAP 2020, Solidaridad was able to bring together experts from South Africa and Canada for a panel discussion on pay-for-impact models. This not only provided an opportunity to share Solidaridad’s expertise in the area, but also boosted visibility within the American Impact Investment community. This is being leveraged into a two-year engagement, which will include further media opportunities in 2021.

The North America office played a key role in advising Walmart on their forestry policy, specifically around indigenous people and non-timber forest products. This evolved from an ongoing relationship with the company, and provides a basis through which to expand future advisory services within the region.

North America proposed a significant investment in pitching some of the newer digital innovations by making incentives platforms a key part of their strategy for the coming years. Positioning the digital innovations was a significant draw for many of the corporate partners that we built relationships with in 2020.

Organization & governance

2020 marked a year of significant growth for the North America team. Two full time team members were brought on in the roles of Corporate Engagement and Communications, respectively. Additional support was brought on in the form of a part time financial controller. The growing team led to positive developments in terms of team meeting cadence, collaboration and project backstopping. Of course there were unexpected challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic, but the team came together to find solutions that supported each other to manage the new stressors while remaining engaged and productive, such as implementing virtual “coffee breaks” as a team, as well as flexibility in schedules and availability. 

Through Corporate Engagement efforts, we were able to foster existing relationships and forge new relationships with a number of major players in the minerals space, including Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, and Amazon, and well as corporations in other sectors such as Starbucks, McDonalds and Walmart. These have all evolved into substantial relationships with verbal commitments for funding and multiple conversations over a period of time. 

Visibility is slowly increasing, despite the difficulty of Covid restrictions and modifications. We hosted a session in the SOCAP 2020 event, and were highlighted as a sponsor. Additionally, we featured on a panel for DAI and AgriLinks’ event, as well as featuring a video of our farmers from South America and Asia. Our LinkedIn presence is still small but growing, and a clearer picture has emerged for the use of our region-specific social media. 

Finance

The team grew, as planned, from two to 4.5 people (and then 5.5 total in 2021). This has increased the overhead budget, but expanded capacity to fundraise and support project management.

We managed to hit our fundraising goals, however Covid-19 had an impact on our ability to raise our reach goal and build more of the visibility and relationships that we had hoped for during the year.

N.B.: These are preliminary figures. The independently audited financial statements for Solidaridad North America will be uploaded here as soon as possible.