Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
Fundraising for our charitable mission — to Keep Wildlife in the Wild — is not easy. These remain challenging economic times as we emerge from global recession, and there are surely many organizations soliciting support from compassionate Americans. But if we don’t raise money, we can’t save animals. We can’t fulfill our mission, our vision, of a more compassionate America.
Born Free USA Development Associate Angela Grimes recently attended the international conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, where former President Bill Clinton, now a committed philanthropist, spoke about the role of charities in working to solve the world’s problems, and doing so in this new economy.
“With the world continuing to spiral into an unequal, unstable and unsustainable place, fundraisers have a new important role to play in ensuring that the positive forces of the world trump the negative ones,” Clinton said. “Two things won’t ever change. There will always be emergencies that compel us to ask for money, and there will always be a gap between what the private sector can produce and what the public sector can provide.”
Government can’t — or won’t — fix all the problems in modern society, whether related to poverty, environmental destruction, wildlife conservation or animal welfare. And with Congress tightening the nation’s purse strings, it is becoming more apparent that charitable organizations and their funders must look at their role in creating social change and providing essential services to solve difficult problems.
Nonprofit organizations have to fulfill their missions, but first they need to find the funds to make it all possible.
And so we pass the hat and ask for (your) support.
At a very basic level, the job of Lorry Marvin and Angela, our development team, is to ask people for money. But it is so much more than that. Fundraising is about forming relationships and creating partnerships between people who want a problem addressed and those who have the means to do so. I have spoken personally to so many donors who envy the work we do, the fact that we can devote our careers to helping animals, and they know that the way the can be a part of the team, the Born Free family, the solution, is to write a check.
When you make a contribution to an organization that works on an issue close to your heart, you join hand-in-hand with that organization to make a difference. You have power to affect change. You can invest in peace, disease prevention, wildlife protection or at-risk youth. This kind of investment produces real dividends.
Concerns abound in our society, but the good news is that there are armies of people on the front lines working to mitigate those concerns and make this world a better place for all — one action, one dollar at a time.
One of Clinton’s idols, former President John F. Kennedy, once said, “One person can make a difference, and every person should try.” Thank you for making a difference. With your help, we will try to stop animal suffering once and for all.