As conservation non-profits go, 2% for Conservation is a little different...
We are an organization built to support conservation groups and the businesses and individuals that support them. This means that how we operate and take action can require a bit of a mental adjustment:
- You can't buy a membership with us - you have to earn it.
- We do not fundraise for ourselves or compete for funds with conservation groups, we have nominal annual business member dues and operate on a very selective and strict budget.
- We work with and support a very diverse set of people, across the globe, from every political and ideological background - as long as they support fish and wildlife conservation.
Choosing to operate this way provides us with unique opportunities to do good for fish and wildlife.
We support conservation groups by advocating for their work with 2% Members.
There are two types of conservation supporters:
- Those that do it out of the goodness of their heart.
- Those that do it because of social pressure / marketing opportunity.
We gladly work with and support the goodwill efforts of both - no judgement.
We are all in different stages of life and on different paths. We will never besmirch genuine support given to wildlife conservation.
That said, we do actively work to help "Type Twos" eventually grow into "Type Ones." We've found the support from that first type of giver to be more dependable for conservation causes.
We support conservation groups by elevating small, local causes and bringing them into a larger network.
Weekly, sometimes daily, we receive some very similar emails:
"My name is [Average Person], I live in [probably your town] and I have been trying to find support for [a very real and pressing wildlife need]. We don't have money, but we will be happy to take any help we can get. We're not as big as national orgs, so it's ok if you don't want to take the time to find people to help us, but we figured we would ask. Sincerely, [person who has been giving their heart and soul to a wildlife cause, all alone, for too long]."
Initially, when we were a much smaller organization, these messages were heartbreaking and a little discouraging. At the start of 2018, we had less than 100 individual members and 5 (as in, "fingers and toes many") business members. We bombarded them with asks, filtering and funneling to common interests as much as we could.
Now, a little over a year later, we have several times that many individual and business members and they are spread out around the world with a very broad range of wildlife interests. It is much, much easier to help small (we like to say, "boutique") conservation causes by connecting them to this growing base of passionate conservationists.
We know that even when we've grown by another magnitude, the diverse and little-heard-of local needs will continue to pop up. It's why we strongly advocate for certification of all types of business. Think about it: What if you had 4-5 local small businesses dedicated to conservation and 2% Certified for it in your community... How would your conservation efforts improve? Would you be able to accomplish more by having 2% Businesses and a handful of scrappy 2% Individuals in your immediate area? Obviously, yes!
Rest assured, with that goal on our extended horizon for every ecosystem, we will continue to help small groups find support and connection with 2% members.
We support conservation groups through our Committee Program.
Make no mistake, living life as a volunteer leader for a conservation group is not always roses and sunshine. Unlike paid employees of conservation groups, they rarely receive training, peer-to-peer support, or the opportunity to connect with other leaders at industry events. Burnout has become the mode.
Volunteer burnout is also expensive. Anyone in business can tell you that it's much cheaper to help an employee stay than to go out and try to find a new one. This compounds when the top performers/advocates for an organization are free laborers aiding the mission of their own free will and charity of heart.
What's worse, is that when they burnout from an organization, it's not from loss of passion for wildlife... it's due to an out of balance "support vs. expectations" ratio on the organization's part. When a volunteer leader quits, it often takes years to replace them. Progress for conservation is lost.
Our Committee Program exists in part to help with this.
The main purpose of the program is to create "conservation touch points" for businesses and individuals to be able to give time and dollars to and they have been very effective in that, creating incredible direct relationships between 2% members and the wildlife causes they represent.
Additionally, a secondary objective of the program is to give these vital volunteers the support they need... AND DESERVE. For those that have engaged in the program, they have found support and some much-needed camaraderie in each other. Though they may volunteer in very different organizations on completely different wildlife issues, they have found that they are often facing similar challenges. We are still working on growing this portion of the program to be more inclusive, but we are thrilled with the early results for the active members, their causes and the groups they volunteer with.
If you would like to be a part of this program, let us know - we would love to discuss it with you!
If you would like to connect with a committee member to give back to the causes they work with, click here!
Lastly, we are fighting the notion that the conservation movement is a fad - on behalf of all conservation groups.
The "fad" idea is a patently false, but recently reoccurring claim by people who were clearly either not paying attention in the last 80 years or haven't taken the time to research the consistent growth of wildlife conservation in modern culture.
It only takes a quick Google Scholar NGram search (how many times a term is mentioned in popular literature) to see the truth: Wildlife Conservation has been culturally on the rise for a long time.
Fads are abrupt trend curves that lazy marketers are constantly trying to stay ahead of... even though it's wastefully resource-intensive.
Innovative marketers know to be at the forefront of a consistently rising trend line, like the one in that graph.
That's what 2% Business Members understand about wildlife conservation, and we will continue to help them go after it by supporting great wildlife conservation groups!
Ready to have your business commit to 2% Certification? Click here!
Want to become a 2% Certified Individual? Click here!