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We are pleased to be partnering with Key Conservation, a conservation tech non-profit established to help conservationists gain real-time support and funding. Founder and Director Megan Cromp answers our questions about the app and how ASAP Partners can get involved.

What led you to come up with the idea for Key Conservation?

While I was working for a sea turtle organization in the Caribbean, we received a call on our sea turtle hotline that a nest was being washed out to sea and needed to be relocated.

Turtle nesting site © Key Conservation

We ran out to our patrol vehicle but quickly realized that not only were we almost out of gas, we were also out of funds to be able to fill up our gas tank. My team and I ended up pulling together money from our own food stipends to pay for the gas to get us to the nest. We brought t-shirts with our organizations logo to sell to tourists so we could help make ends meet until our next set of funds came through. It was on the ride down to the nest that I thought there had to be a better way to connect with supporters around the world in real-time about unplanned issues like this. I was overcome by frustration. How are conservation organizations scraping by when there are so many people around the world who absolutely adore the species that we are working to save and protect? Everything just felt disconnected and as I continued my fieldwork, I quickly realized that the species and location may be different but the same problems of lack of funding, global awareness, skilled help and more, persisted. I wondered how this disconnect was still happening when there are tech advances available that could allow us to do more and make more possible? To tackle these problems, I decided to build a mobile app that conservationists could take into the field with them to help bridge the gap between conservationists and global supporters in real-time.

How will Key Conservation bridge this gap?

We are building a mobile app to help conservationists gain support and funding in real-time. The Key Conservation app has a scrolling feed, similar to Instagram or Facebook, that will update as needs from conservationists occur around the world. The Key app provides three ways for conservation organizations to get help and three ways for supporters to give it. Supporters can give their professional skills, donate money and be alerted to real-time volunteer opportunities through geo-based alerts. After the contribution from a global supporter has been put to use the conservation organization will send a photo/video update to the supporter to show the outcome of their support. Our mission is to provide an easy way for conservation organizations to give the world direct actionable steps to make a real difference and support the work that they do.

How do you think the app will help ASAP Partners?

The Key Conservation app is being built for conservationists by conservationists. We understand the monumental challenges that conservation organizations like ASAP Partners face, and how some organizations are truly in survival mode working to keep things functioning. With that in mind, we are building tools into the app that will help tackle those challenges, especially those that cannot be planned for. Conservation is extremely unpredictable and through the Key app, organizations will be able to reach out to a global audience in real-time and tap into avenues of support that many organizations may not have had access to previously.

The skilled impact section of the app will allow conservation organizations to connect with skilled professionals who can offer pro-bono support, helping them with needs that would normally be quite costly and which they might not know how to find. For example, a graphic designer could help create an outreach campaign to reach the local community, a drone operator could help with remote research efforts or a mechanic could help fix a patrol vehicle.

The in-person section of the app allows organizations to be able to send out geo-based push notifications to a set demographic in real-time to quickly get the word out and receive help for local volunteer opportunities. For example, the team needs another set of hands to push a vehicle out of the mud or they have a sea turtle hatchling release event that evening, they can get the word out to the right people immediately.

Lastly, the funding part of the app allows organizations to ask for funds for unplanned expenses which also allows supporters to see exactly how their support made a difference.

Our mission is to help increase funding, build capacity and raise the profile of conservation organizations around the world no matter their current funding or personnel situation. We want to help put global supporters onto the front lines with conservationists with direct actionable steps to help so they can truly see the challenges conservationists face and how they can help on a larger scale.

What is the process for conservation organisations to be part of Key Conservation?

Every conservation organization that would like to utilize the Key Conservation app must go through a vetting process before they are approved and on-boarded onto the app. To apply just follow the link here https://www.keyconservation.org/conservationorganization, click the apply button and fill out the form. Once this is complete you will hear back from our team within a few days.

This vetting process ensures that each and every conservation organization on the Key app is legitimate and conducting responsible conservation efforts. This also helps us build trust with supporters from around the world who want to give their time, skills and money to further these critical missions.

What are the next steps and when do you think the app will be operational?

The Key Conservation app is currently in development and we have 10 conservation organizations and 50+ supporters from around the world who are helping us test the app in the field as it is being built. We are working to have an app that can be downloaded and in use in the next six months.

Do you have any other plans for the app in the future?

Yes! Once the core functionalities of the app are completed, we plan on making sure the app is available in everyone’s local language. Our goal is that the entire app is internationalized so whatever language you use on your phone, it will automatically translate into it. This way conservationists can use it within their local communities and it can truly be a global platform. We also plan to build in some additional features that will create an ecosystem of sorts for conservation organizations to get all of the support that they need. These features include establishing local community groups, events, a way to crowd-source ideas for larger issues they face, a citizen science channel, a way to mentor and support upcoming conservationists and more.

We are also working to bring on researchers, academics and field stations onto the app so they can find research assistants, build collaborations, share local knowledge and more. Lastly, we plan to provide an avenue for businesses to offer their skills and resources to conservationists while also helping them stay or become socially responsible and sustainable.

We believe that providing individuals from around the world direct actionable steps to get involved and make a difference will empower hope on a large scale. Our hope is that even the smallest of actions will compound with others leading to tremendous impact for conservation efforts around the world.

For more information on Key Conservation and how conservation organisations can be part of the app, please visit their website here and download the Conservation Organisation Kit here. If you have any questions about the app, the application process or your eligibility, please contact Megan Cromp megan@keyconservation.org

All images are from Key Conservation.

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