2021 Crowdfunding Challenge Grant

The WDA is once again partnering with the crowdfunding site Experiment to run a Wildlife Health and Disease challenge grant. During the 2020 challenge grant researchers raised more than $31,000 in support of 7 projects.

To be eligible proposals must meet the following criteria:

1. Involve a significant health or disease issue in free-ranging marine or terrestrial wildlife.
2. Have implications for wildlife populations and ecosystems in which wildlife live.
3. Emphasize species conservation or application of a One Health approach.

The crowdfunding process is different from traditional grant funding. Successfully crowdfunded grants are typically smaller grants for smaller projects, and they should be written to appeal to the public rather than to scientists.  The median amount raised for successful proposals is $4000-5,000.

Experiment puts out the initial call and coaches researchers through the process of getting their grants ready for the crowdfunding campaign. WDA and Experiment will review each proposal for eligibility and clarity.  The Campaign will launch on May 31, 2021, and it is the responsibility of the researchers to take advantage of the coaching provided by Experiment to ensure that their grant succeeds.

Although both Experiment and WDA publicize the campaign, grant submitters bear the primary responsibility to find supporters and advocates as well as to promote and publicize their grants.  On-going coaching by Experiment will be provided.

In additional to the amount raised from the crowdfunding, WDA will provide 6 incentive prizes for those projects that have the greatest number of donors regardless of the actual amount raised.

Two awards on the 21st day of campaign (membership status is for the primary investigator of the project):

  • 1st place:  $1250 for projects where PI is a WDA member, $1000 for non-member
  • 2nd place:  $750 for projects where PI is a WDA member, $500 for non-member

Four awards on the 30th day of the campaign, an additional four prizes will be awarded to the top 4 proposals (excluding the 2 winning proposals from the 21st) with the greatest number of supporters and whose primary investigator is a WDA member:

  • 3rd-6th place:  $250 for projects where PI is a WDA member

Key Dates are:
April 7 - May 9 – Grant preparation and Submission (May 9 submission deadline)
May 17 – May 30 -- campaign coaching and strategy development period with Experiment staff
May 31 – Crowdfunding campaign kick-off
June 21 - day 21 of the crowdfunding campaign – bonus funds awarded by WDA
July 2 – Crowdfunding campaigns end and 30-day awards – bonus funds awarded by WDA

Check out the following links to see what grants were successful in past campaigns.  If you have questions concerning the process please contact or Nicole Sharpe More info here, and

Examples of past successful crowdfunding grants: