2% for Conservation's Mission Statement is:
"To ensure the future of hunting and angling by creating an alliance of businesses and individuals that give their time and dollars to fish and wildlife conservation."
Through bringing together businesses and the consumers that support them, we've seen vital wildlife work accomplished and sustained - even though we're just a few years old as an org.
While we have been working hard on improving the culture within hunting and angling, this rise in charitability isn't something we can truly claim credit for. These cultural shifts have been happening for a while - we're here to help it keep moving forward.
A question we receive with increasing frequency is,
"Where do we start? How do we start giving back to conservation?"
If you are pursuing 2% Certification for your business, or are just starting to look into how to give back to conservation as an individual, it can be a little daunting to find a starting point. Especially, if you do not know anyone working in fish and wildlife conservation.
We've found it to be the #1 deterrent for anyone pursuing 2% Certification.
To help you get started, we've got 3 Easy Tips to help you find a conservation cause to start giving back to!
"Don't worry - this being our first real blog, I'd like to make it clear that this space will not be an endless run of Buzzfeed style click-bait tip lists... this is just an effective and simple medium to communicate this topic." - Jared F., 2% Exec. Dir.
Tip #1: Think about YOUR Interests
This might seem weird, but hear us out.
We've found that the members who give back to conservation most effectively are those that are giving back to causes that align with their outdoor interests.
Why? Because if you already care, even for self-serving reasons, you are more likely to give generously and with the intent for a real-world outcome. You'll also be more shrewd in researching the organization to give to because you REALLY care that your dollars are going where they say they will.
It is not as psychologically or emotionally taxing to give back to something that you know will help your interests. Because of that, you are more likely to do great good in partnering with a group who's mission returns your investment of time or money with them in the form of real-world outcomes you really want.
This is why we allow businesses and individuals to choose the causes they support. While we may help provide a couple short lists of causes for them to look into, we leave the decision up to them.
If you would like info on causes to give back to that allign with your interests, hit us up with a message on our contact page. We'd love to help you out!
Tip #2: Think about What YOU Can Do
This isn't a "THE POWER IS YOURS!" Captain Planet suggestion... it's a call to introspection.
What are you uniquely capable of doing?
The greatest impacts for conservation come from those who realize that they are uniquely situated to do great good and in their own way.
Here are a couple of examples from 2% Members:
Sitka and MTN OPS go to Washington.
In 2018, Sitka Gear and MTN OPS sent employee representatives on a trip to Washington D.C. in partnership with the Wild Sheep Foundation for meetings with department heads and legislators. They went as representatives of the outdoor industry to back up the messaging and lobbying work of the Wild Sheep Foundation. This is something that their businesses were uniquely positioned to do, and when the need arose, they did it.
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This week, 2% Certified Brands @sitkagear and @mtnops headed to Washington DC in support of the @wildsheepfoundation . They went to the Department of the Interior's Conservation Round Table and met with the public lands subcommittee to share the needs of wild sheep in light of the upcoming Farm Bill. This is an awesome example of how 2% Certified Brands donate their time to make a huge impact for fish and wildlife conservation!
406 fights for clean water.
On a more local scale, 406 Brewing's owner, Matt Muth regularly advocates for clean water in both local resource meetings and at the state capitol. Why? Well, his brewery needs clean water to make their beer! Why else? He loves to fish Montana's clean, cool waters! His position as a business leader in the community allows him to get meetings that other businesses simply don't have the opportunity for. And, c'mon, it's beer!
Individual Member tracks trash on his local river.
If you've followed our Instagram stories this year, you've probably seen quite a few pictures of trash getting cleaned out of ecosystems by 2% Members. One of the most prolific has been an individual member out of North Carolina, Ethan Hollifield. Over the course of 2019, Ethan has collected and cataloged thousands of pieces of trash in his local fishery. He is a guide and spends more time on the river than most, so he's uniquely positioned to advocate for the river and to be a resource for its management. No one asked him to do this - he saw a need for his time and stepped in.
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From time to time, our "tagged in" photos are suddenly flush with pictures of trash. We don't mind, in fact, WE LOVE IT because it's proof of our members giving their time to make their local ecosystems more healthy! This weekend, one of the "worst offenders" has taken over our Instagram stories, @ethanhollifield . Since January, he's collected over 50 bags of trash and over 3000 unique pieces of plastic from his local waterways where he guides. How do you spend your weekends? 📷: @ethanhollifield
However you choose to give your time, the key thing is to DO IT. There are infinite possibilities, but the choice is uniquely yours.
Tip #3: Think about YOUR Community
When you are giving back your time, camaraderie is critical! A small group of dedicated folks is capable of just about anything they set their minds and hearts to.
Consider this: Nearly every major conservation organization in the US and Canada was formed by a group of friends or collection of people who stepped up unison when conservation needs called on them.
- The oldest wild sheep conservation group, Fraternity of Desert Bighorn, was founded by a group of eight people who stepped up when Nevada Department of Wildlife sent out a call for volunteers to help set up wildlife water tanks (guzzlers) in the desert. Their work is now legendary!
- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was founded by a group of friends who wanted to see elk brought back to their historical numbers and ranges.
- The Boone & Crockett Club was founded by a small group of conservation thought leaders and hunters at the turn of the 20th century.
If you try to go it alone, you won't go very far.
Your community could be a group of likeminded people or your actual geographic community. Around the world, local hiking clubs, rod & gun clubs, archery leagues and the like are stepping up to take care of their local ecosystems. Joining one takes a couple seconds of searching online and finding out when their next meeting is taking place.
Many large organizations also have local chapters. While some chapters of groups are built almost exclusively as fundraising/member growth arms of their main offices, odds are that you have at least a few groups in your area doing great work and on a regular basis... you just didn't know about them.
Pro tip: If you are nervous about jumping into a group without proof of their work, follow them on social media for a month or two before signing up. Watch what they post, what their members post, and see what kind of work they prove themselves with. You don't want to waste your time with a group that just talks online - you want a group that DOES REAL WORK IN THE REAL WORLD. If it isn't obvious after 60 days of observing - move along!
Well there you have it, three simple principles to help you get involved in conservation work!
We hope this inspires you and shows that no matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, living out the 2% Standard is not only attainable but is also incredibly rewarding.
If you would like some local inspiration, we invite you to connect with a 2% representative near you by hitting up your local 2% Regional Committee Member. You can see a map of where this ever-growing group of conservation leaders are located, as well as how to contact them, via our "Get Connected" page.
And of course, if you would like to get in touch with us directly, you can send us a note from our contact page.
Now get out there and get involved in conservation!