Bending the curve on biodiversity loss will require increased conservation funding and a wiser resource allocation. Local conservation practitioner expertise will be vital in decision-making processes related to funding. Yet, the integration of their insights into funder priorities and strategies is often insufficient, particularly in countries where international funding comprises the bulk of support for conservation. More generally, the role of funding remains under-analyzed in conservation and opportunities for funder-practitioner dialogue at a broad strategic level are limited. We seek to address these critical gaps by presenting results from a participatory workshop of conservation practitioners in Madagascar, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Five major areas of need emerged, and these challenges need to be addressed if we are to see long-term solutions to the biodiversity crisis: (1) strengthen law and policy implementation; (2) ensure sustainability of funding; (3) improve coherence and coordination within and beyond the conservation sector; (4) support self-strengthening of local communities; and (5) invest in capacity development. This article elaborates on these thematic areas and their implications for international donors in Madagascar and beyond. Our approach demonstrates a way for amplifying in-country practitioner voices in a collaborative way and highlights the need for their inclusion at all stages of conservation program development so that funding priorities better reflect local needs and aspirations while enhancing prospects for enduring conservation outcomes.