World Land Trust (WLT) created Big Match Fortnight a few years ago, as an annual major fundraiser. Over the years I have gradually gained an understanding of how fundraising works, and although I am well-known for my dislike of ‘professional fundraisers’, much of WLT’s fundraising success was based on a meeting with Ken Burnett, and a careful reading of his books. It is also based on a recognition that things change. And what is successful and innovative as a fundraising technique when it is first thought of soon becomes stale, and increasingly less effective.
WLT was one of the first organisations to market the ‘Buy an Acre’ of rainforest, and while this has been copied many times since, I think one of the strengths of the WLT model is that it doesn’t make extravagant claims. WLT has always been transparent about the fact that, while there are some projects where acres can be bought for £100, this is not possible everywhere. Which brings me back to Big Match Fortnight.
Securing elephant corridors to connect protected areas in India is a very cost-effective way of helping threatened species. If an elephant can use the corridor, so can every other species in the ecosystem. A tiger corridor, for instance, might not be any good for elephants, because while tigers can climb cliffs, elephants can’t.
Land in India is not only expensive, but often occupied by humans. So creating a corridor needs a different approach. By getting together a group of donors, both private individuals and businesses, we have been able to ask the public to donate and have their donation doubled during our Big Match. Some creative members of the public have then gone to their employers, and got them to match their donations so that by the time it gets in to the Elephant Corridor Appeal fund, their £25 has become £100.