Fighting for ecological justice

Fundraising for Forest Conservation Work

Not many civil society groups focus on developing funding schemes to support forest conservation work. LindungiHutan is one of those civil society groups. Through its website, LindungiHutan has managed more than 1900 campaigns, worked with 532 partners, and successfully planted more than 832 thousand trees in 50 reforestation sites.

One of LindungiHutan’s Project Site
Source: LindungiHutan

6 June 2024, Kaoem Telapak had the opportunity to chat with Miftahur ‘Ben’ Robani, founder and Chief Executive Officer of LindungiHutan, about managing fundraising programmes for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

The Beginning

Starting from a meeting with a partner in one of the regions, whose funding was limited to their circle, Ben and his colleagues thought about how to get more people to help their partner, “With the online platform, which allows people to order a taxi online, food online, why not help them online too,” said Ben.

From that thought, Ben and his colleagues established LindungiHutan as a bridge in the middle, connecting donors with their partners. Fundraising is the activity to keep what the partners are doing running. “The important thing is that partners continue to feel supported. The position is in line with the values stated in LindungiHutan’s vision, namely, Together Greening Indonesia,” he said.

In Semarang, Central Java, Ben and His partners established LindungiHutan. As a legal entity, LindungiHutan is a foundation and has obtained a licence to conduct fundraising through a Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Until now, LindungiHutan continues to renew its fundraising licence every three months.

Miftahur ‘Ben” Robani, Co-founder LindungiHutan
Source: LindungiHutan

The First-Year Period

The early days of LindungiHutan, Ben said, were tough. At that time, LindungiHutan did not have a portfolio and followers on Instagram. Convincing the public to entrust their funds to LindungiHutan was the first challenge. “First, we offered to people we already knew, and then we invited the public en masse through our social media accounts.”

Ben admits that the first years were an era of searching for what makes people want to donate to LindungiHutan.  Over time, Ben realised that conserving forests or planting trees for many people is not a goal but a means. “That’s why in the beginning, when we invited people to plant trees, many people didn’t want to but wanted to be invited to something else. For example, we make merchandise so people buy merchandise while planting trees,” he said.

Unexpected Messages

There are two unforgettable stories in this fundraiser. The first was when LindungiHutan was only six months old in 2016. Ben said that, at that time, very few people were willing to donate. One night, Ben and the other three founders of LindungiHutan were eating at a food court. Suddenly, someone sent a message to LindungiHutan’s Instagram.

The sender of the message said that he had transferred some funds. He asked for photos of the trees that they had planted. After checking, it turned out that the person sent one million rupiah and was anonymous. Ben and the other three founders of LindungiHutan wondered why anyone would send such a large amount of money to an unknown person. “It was very, very strange for the three of us. We were stunned,” he admitted.

Collaboration with K-Pop Community
Source: LindungiHutan

K-Pop community

Then, Ben shared another experience. It was during the Covid-19 pandemic. In October 2020, there was an artist who was campaigning through LindungiHutan. The artist wanted to give a gift to his idol, Park Ji-Min, a member of BTS, a vocal group from South Korea.

The campaign is if anyone wants to donate to LindungiHutan, they will get a sticker.  The campaign only ran for eight days but collected approximately 8000 trees and managed thousands of people to donate successfully. “The donations were small, but so many people participated,” said Ben.  From this experience, Ben came to a new realisation that he should never underestimate other groups. “If we give them the right role, many people will want to get involved,” he adds.

Tips to Develop Fundraising

Ben has some advice for NGOs looking to develop an independent fundraising programme. The first thing to look for is an appropriate context for the people who want to become donors. He reflects on his experience collaborating with a K-pop fan group. Ben didn’t expect planting trees to be a goal but rather a means. “At first, we thought people would want to plant trees, but they used it as a means,” he says.

Later, Ben emphasised the importance of evidence. NGOs need to create portfolios, reports, and documentation to prove that the programmes offered are running and happening. “So we are not just asking for the money, but also provide proof,” he explained.

Implementing the Project
Source: LindungiHutan

Thirdly, Ben reminds us to adapt to the times. You don’t always have to use NGO terminology rigidly. “We should make the issue more universal,” he continued.

Lastly, we must always give roles to others. Always be open to collaborating with other groups. “Never underestimate other groups, and always open opportunities for collaboration to do something together,” Ben concluded.

About LindungiHutan

LindungiHutan is an environmental start-up that focuses on forest conservation and community empowerment. More than 800 THOUSAND TREES have been planted by LindungiHutan, with 506 brands and companies. We collaborate with local communities in 47 planting locations across Indonesia. LindungiHutan presents programmes such as The Green CSR, Collaboratree with Product Bundling, Service Bundling and Project Partner schemes, and Carbon Offset programmes.


Intan Widianti Kartika Putri
Head of Partnership
Phone: +62 823-2901-5769
Jl. Lempongsari 1 No. 405, Lempongsari,
Gajah Mungkur, Semarang City 50231


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