Agent and Godfather of Good, David Love is back from Costa Rica and files this report from the field. Even in the middle of a tropical rainforest, the donor is never far from the Godfather’s mind.
“But it’s so small.” Ann and I are looking at a tiny red-eyed tree frog on leaf in Costa Rica.
For 10 years, from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, WWF Canada used this colourful frog to raise millions of dollars. But more important, we found thousands of new donors to conserve tropical rainforests in Central America – including Costa Rica.
Seeing the frog took me back to those heady days and I realized that our remarkable success was built on five principles of donor-centered fundraising.
Our appeals were URGENT. Rainforests were disappearing at an alarming rate and people heard about it all the time. But the kicker was when Time Magazine made the destruction of the rainforests their “story of the year.”
Our appeals were TANGIBLE. We were able to capture the offer in a simple, understandable sentence: “Protect an Acre of Rainforest for $25.”
Our appeals were INTERESTING. They were fact-filled and worth reading. In the end, we developed a 12-page booklet and some loyal donors wanted more.
Our appeals were INSPIRING. We used the fabulous species living in the rainforest – jaguars, hummingbirds and yes, colourful tree frogs.
Our appeals were RELEVANT to the reader and to their families. The destruction of the rainforests had significant consequences on the loss of biodiversity. This issue was – and still is – relevant to all of us.
All this came to my mind in retrospect. But I will never forget the magic of meeting that small frog. So often we fundraisers work for intangible gains. Indeed, at our best, we are conduits between our donors and missions to make the world a better place.
Meeting the frog gave a whole new meaning to 10 years of work creating Guardians of the Rainforest.