CDF Frequently Asked Questions


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These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are intended to help prospective applicants decide whether or not they are eligible to submit an application to CDF and to help answer questions relating to the application process. If you have any questions that are not covered here, please email us on  Where a CDF beneficiary Partner has a Partners Development Officer, you can also seek clarification through them before sending further queries to the CDF-Grants@birdlife.orgApplicants are strongly advised to read the criteria for various grants on the guidelines provided before start of filling-in the application form. These are provided on the ‘How To Apply’ page on the CDF website.


  1. Which Grant should I apply for?

Depending on the needs identified on the Strengthening Plan, a Partner can determine the appropriate project based on the priority issues, the scale of changes required for the organisation and time scale to implement. Consult with the Partner Development Officer if you have one and the Regional Focal Points for further advice before preparing the project.

  1. Why are some funds in GBP and Euros?

The CDF has received support from donors who provide the funds in the two currencies. The Partners on the Mediterranean project receive funding in GBP and those in West Africa and Latin America in Euros. 

  1. How much funding can a project receive?

The CDF can offer support up to the value of £10,000 or €10,000 for Small Size Grant. Funds from other donors can be included in the project budget. However, the total amount of funds requested from CDF must cover at least 50% of the project budget. For example, a Small Size Grant project can include £10,000 requested from CDF Grants and up to £10,000 maximum from other donors. In another scenario, a Small Size Grant project budget could consist of £10,000 requested from CDF with no other donors.

  1. When should my CDF project start?

Proposals for to CDF for Small Size Grants, Technical Assistance Grants, Thematic Initiative Grants and Ad Hoc Capacity Development Opportunity Grants can be submitted anytime and reviewed on a monthly basis. The decisions are communicated to Partners within 4 to 6 weeks of submitting a proposal therefore best to plan start dates 8 weeks after submitting the proposal at a minimum. For the Medium and Large Size Grants, deadlines are 1st of March and 1st of September of every year. Decisions are taken and communicated to Partners within 4 - 6 weeks of the submission dates. It is advisable to plan the start of these projects at least 8 weeks after the deadlines i.e. after May or October of the year. Bear in mind there may be some changes recommended by the Grants Awards Selection Committee on the latter that may influence the start date of the project.


  1. How long can CDF projects run for?

The length of a CDF project varies, depending on the type of grant received. For Small Size Grants, Technical Assistance Grants, Thematic Initiative Grants, projects should be no more than 12 months in length. Ad Hoc Capacity Development Opportunities should be one to two weeks training programmes. For Medium and Large Size Grants, they should be no more than 18 months. The project team must carry out all fieldwork, analysis, and final reporting during these periods.

  1. Which countries are currently eligible for CDF funding?

Currently, CDF will ONLY accept proposals for projects from Partners in the Mediterranean region, Coastal West Africa and three countries in Latin America & Caribbean region. Eligible Partners for this funding round are; BirdLife Cyprus, BirdLife Malta; Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), Center for Protection and Research of birds of Montenegro (CZIP); Association BIOM (Croatia); Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL); Association `les Amis des Oiseaux’ (AAO-Tunisia); Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE); Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS-Greece); Sociedade Portuguesa Para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA); Palestine WildLife Society (PWLS); Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW); Biosfera 1 (Cape Verde); Organização para a Defesa o Desenvolvimento (ODZH-Guinea Bissau); Conservation Society for Sierra Leone (CSSL); Nature Mauritanie (NM); Nature Communauté Développement (NCD – Senegal); Aves Argentina, SAVE Brasil, and Guyra Paraguay.

  1. Can CDF funding be used to help support existing projects?

NO. Projects must be undertaking new work as opposed to supporting the continuation of an already established project. The exceptions to this are the Medium and Large Size Grants, which often are offered to implement a suite of recommended activities from completed CDF Small Grant.

  1. Can CDF funding be used to cover salaries?

YES. CDF grants can be used to cover salaries for staff members or consultants implementing the project.

  1. Can applicants participate in more than one CDF project?

YES. Applicants can participate in more than one CDF project at a time.

  1. Can a CDF project team change (e.g. if a member can no longer participate)?

CDF Management Team strongly encourages bringing together a team that is committed to the project from the beginning to the end. However, we understand that unforeseen circumstances can make this challenging at times. Yes, a project team may change, but project leads must notify CDF Management Team of any change to a team including new members. Teams should contact to inform of any changes to the project team.


  1. What kind of support can CDF Management Team provide during the application process?

We encourage applicants for any of the grants to contact the CDF Grants Management Team first through the relevant Regional Focal Point. This will help initially discuss the eligibility of the project and refine the proposed activities. This contact should be at least two weeks before submitting the proposal for funding. The CDF Management Team can also review proposals and provide feedback on draft proposals submitted to up to two weeks before the deadline. The CDF Management Team can also help to put applicants in touch with other BirdLife Partners who can offer Technical Assistance or those interested in the same Thematic Initiative Grants during the application process. For full details, please visit the ‘How To Apply’ page on the CDF website.

  1. Can applications be submitted in a language other than English?

YES. Proposals to CDF Grants can be submitted in French and Spanish.

  1. How much detail should I give in the budget?

Your budget should provide a detailed breakdown of your expected expenditure and should allow the review panel to assess whether your costs are reasonable. Justification must be given for any individual item over £1000 or €1,000 and full details must be given for any section of the budget that takes up a significant portion of the CDF grant. For example, it is not enough to only put transport costs = £5000 or €5,000; an itemised breakdown of this figure must be given, detailing how much of this will be spent on fuel, vehicle hire, bus tickets etc.

  1. When is the application deadline?

For the current call, the application deadline is Sunday 1st September 2019. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a draft of their proposal to the Partner Development Officer and/or Regional Focal Point or CDF Management Team member ( at least two weeks before the deadline, in order to allow time for us to provide feedback prior to final submission.

  1. Where do I submit my application?

Final submission must be sent by email to using the application template. Please observe there are different application forms for those eligible to apply in GBP and for Euros.

  1. If I am unsuccessful, can I re-submit my application during the next application cycle?

Yes, we welcome re-submission of proposals provided that all the reasons given for the proposal’s initial rejection have been addressed. For Medium and Large Size Grants, we always aim to provide the applicants with the feedback received from the Grants Awards Selection Committee.

  1. What other benefits are available to teams that receive a CDF Grants?

All staff members of organisations in the BirdLife Partnership are eligible to access bespoke training opportunities sourced by BirdLife International. Staff from the CDF beneficiary Partners can access some of the paid training opportunities with support from the CDF. Some examples of these opportunities including: CDF sponsored training courses in priority topics, travel grants to attend training and conferences, mentoring from other BirdLife Partners and BirdLife Secretariat staff, and access to the exclusive CDF social networking platforms.

  1. How does the review process work?

For Small Grants, Technical Assistance, Thematic Initiative Grants, Ad hoc Capacity Development Opportunity Grant, the review process is made up of two stages. First review of the proposal by the Partner Development Officer and/or Regional Focal Point before submitting for funding. Second review is by the CDF Management Team after submission. Feedback is provided as soon as possible to allow the applicant Partner respond to any issues raised.

For Medium and Large Size Grants, there are four separate stages: an initial review by the Partner Development Officer and/or Regional Focal Point before the deadline, a second stage by the CDF Management Team to check for eligibility and feasibility of the project. A third stage by external reviewers (GASC) and fourth stage a final review meeting of the GASC members. After each stage, the CDF Management Team will provide all applicants with feedback in order to encourage them to strengthen their application.

  1. Who are the reviewers?

We draw our reviewers on the GASC from a wide range of sources including conservation NGOs, private business, research institutions and capacity building institutions and donors. The GASC members are typically experts in their area of profession related to organisational development or capacity building. Reviewers provide guidance on the feasibility of a project, its contribution to capacity development and value for money.